DoD Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program

DoD Manufacturing USA Institutes

New, emerging manufacturing technologies and processes hold strategic promise for the DoD, but fragmented or frail ecosystems are at risk of collapse due to infrastructure and workforce complexities. Unfortunately DoD-only requirements are insufficient to establish robust and sustainable technology ecosystems. Instead, advanced manufacturing ecosystems must be built on common commercial and defense manufacturing and design challenges for shared risk and shared benefits. The DoD Manufacturing USA innovation institutes are a key strategic investment for the DoD ManTech program Each institute is designed to overcome many of these challenges by advancing manufacturing innovation for specific, focused technology areas.

Manufacturing USA, formally known as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), was formally established in 2014. This network includes eight Manufacturing Innovation Institutes lead by DoD, five led by the Department of Energy, and one institute led by the Department of Commerce. Manufacturing USA brings together industry, academia and federal partners within a growing network of advanced manufacturing institutes to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and promote a robust and sustainable national manufacturing R&D infrastructure.

Tenets of DoD Manufacturing USA institutes:

  • Industry driven public-private partnerships
  • Regional hubs for manufacturing excellence
  • Investments in applied research and industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies
  • Required focus on education and workforce development needs

Contact:Email the Program Director

Manufacturing USA Monthly Newsletter

2017 06 - DoD Institutes Newsletter - June (PDF)
2017 07 - DoD Institutes Newsletter - July (PDF)
2017 08 - DoD Institutes Newsletter - August (PDF)
2017 09 - DoD Institutes Newsletter - September (PDF)

Please email to be added to the DoD Manufacturing USA newsletter distribution list

Every day, Manufacturing USA leaves its mark on our industry and nation by bringing together manufacturing, academia and government to fuel a skilled U.S. workforce. Institute collaborations galvanize domestic manufacturing supply chains; grow centers of technological excellence across the country; move products from lab to market in record time; revitalize regional and national economies; and affirm U.S. global leadership.

Each institute has its own technology focus—ranging from lightweight materials to energy efficiency—but all share the goal of securing the future of manufacturing in the U.S. through innovation, collaboration and education.

DoD Manufacturing Institutes

AIM Photonics
  • Established: August 2012
  • Committed Investment: $110M
  • Members: 210*

America Makes: The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute

America Makes focuses on helping the United States grow capabilities and strength in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. America Makes facilitates collaboration among leaders from business, academia, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, focusing on areas that include design, materials, technology and workforce and help our nation’s three-dimensional (3D) printing industry become more globally competitive. - America Makes website Program Manager POC: Dennis Butcher -
  • Established: February 2014
  • Committed Investment: $176M
  • Members: 313*

DMDII: Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute

The DMDII is the nation’s flagship research institute for applying cutting-edge digital technologies to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, strengthen the capabilities of the U.S. supply chain, and reduce acquisition costs for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The goal is for product design and associated manufacturing process definitions to be created simultaneously and maintained in a persistent Digital Thread. Design innovation is the ability to apply these technologies, tools and approaches to re-imagine the manufacturing enterprise from end to end. - DMDII Website Program Manager POC: Anthony Holden -
  • Established: February 2014
  • Committed Investment: $148M
  • Members: 127*

LIFT: Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow

LIFT is part of a national network of research institutions and industrial companies geared toward advancing America’s leadership in manufacturing technology. The center will speed development of new lightweight metal manufacturing processes from laboratories to factories for products using lightweight metal, including aluminum, magnesium, titanium and advanced high-strength steel alloys. An equally important mission is to facilitate the training of the workers who will use these new processes in factories and maintenance facilitates around the country. - LIFT website Program Manager POC: Johnnie Deloach -
AIM Photonics
  • Established: July 2015
  • Committed Investment: $612M
  • Members: 84*

AIM Photonics: American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics

AIM Photonics is an industry driven public-private partnership that focuses the nation’s premiere capabilities and expertise to capture critical global manufacturing leadership in a technology that is essential to National security and positioned to provide return-on-investment to the U.S. economy. The Institute’s goal is to transition key lessons, processes, and approaches to the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) industry. AIM Photonics creating a National PIC manufacturing infrastructure, widely accessible and flexible to meet the challenges of the marketplace with practical, innovative solutions. - AIM Photonics website

Program Manager POC: Neil Suppola -

  • Established: August 2015
  • Committed Investment: $171M
  • Members: 86*

NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Institute

NextFlex is America’s focal-point for the public-private partnership converging traditional electronic packaging manufacturers and the high-performance printing industries that will produce innovative flexible, stretchable DoD and commercial technologies. The institute catalyzes the US FHE ecosystem to commercialize technology through project investments in: FHE materials scale-up, thinned device processing, system design tools, and reliability testing and modeling. NextFlex technology platform demonstrations are focused on human health monitoring, array antennas, asset monitoring, and soft robotics. - Nextflex website Program Manager POC: Eric Forsythe -
  • Established: April 2016
  • Committed Investment: $315M
  • Members: 110*

AFFOA: Advanced Functional Fabrics of America

Our clothes help define us, yet the fabrics we wear and use have remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Recent breakthroughs in fiber materials and manufacturing processes will soon allow us to design and produce fabrics that see, hear, sense, communicate, store and convert energy, regulate temperature, monitor health and change color – the dawn of a “fabric revolution”. AFFOA will accelerate widespread commercialization of highly functional fabrics. AFFOA is built on a simple premise: functional fabrics necessitate deep fiber innovation and predictive manufacturing. AFFOA has America’s leading IP cache in semiconductor fibers and assemblies. AFFOA is strategically positioned as a National Fabric Innovation Network poised to deliver revolutionary advances across the entire fabric supply chain, from multifunctional fibers to advanced nonwovens and yarn production to sophisticated weaving and knitting capabilities and end-product fabrication for first-to-market manufacturing opportunities.  AFFOA will build the sustainable, high-tech ecosystem that captures this national opportunity.

AFFOA website

Program Manager POC: Steve Luckowski -

biofabusa logo
  • Established: December 2016
  • Committed Investment: $294M
  • Members: 15*

BioFabUSA: Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing Innovation Institute

BioFabUSA is developing next-generation manufacturing techniques for repairing and replacing cells and tissues, which may one day lead to the ability to manufacture new skin for soldiers scarred from combat or develop organ-preserving technologies to benefit Americans stuck on organ transplant waiting lists. focuses on solving the cross-cutting manufacturing challenges that stand in the way of producing new synthetic tissues and organs—such as improving the availability, reproducibility, accessibility, and standardization of manufacturing materials, technologies, and processes to create tissue and organ products. ARMI will convene leaders from a multitude of disciplines, from cell biology and bioengineering to materials science and computer modeling. The partners work to develop high-throughput culture and 3D biofabication techniques to non-invasive, real-time testing and sensing to measure the viability of engineered tissue constructs.

Program Manager POC: Lt. Col. Melinda Eaton -

arm logo
  • Established: January 2017
  • Committed Investment: $253M
  • Members: 110*

ARM: Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute

The objective of the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is to improve U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing through advancements in the smart collaborative robotic field. This technology has the potential to level the manufacturing playing field with competing low labor cost economies, with decreased manufacturing cost, better quality and timely response to changes needed by customers. Smart, collaborative robotics can also enable "batch of one" production, also known as mass customization. The technologies developed in this institute will be primarily focused in making advanced manufacturing more competitive, addressing DoD needs, and contribute to improving prosperity in the United States. The Institute focuses on technology areas such as human robot interaction, adaption, learning, manipulation, autonomy, mobility and perception. -ARM Institute website Program Manager POC: Greg Hudas -

*This number reflects institute members as of November 27, 2017. Institute membership constantly changes.

Manufacturing USA institutes address the so-called “valley of death” between research and commercialization by convening members that conduct work along different parts of the R&D spectrum and reducing risks. By breaking down market barriers in the right technological areas, the program facilitates the acceleration of U.S. manufacturing R&D.

A major focus of the Manufacturing USA network is workforce development—ensuring that there are enough workers with the right skills to meet the needs of advanced manufacturers. Another priority for the network is that institutes become self-sustaining. A key strength that will help them achieve sustainability is the approach taken by Manufacturing USA, which not only gives each institute enough autonomy to meet the needs of its industry members, but also provides oversight to ensure federal investments are being spent wisely.

Deloitte Study Finds that Manufacturing USA Spurs R&D Innovation

Manufacturing USA is working!

That is the overarching conclusion of a study conducted by Deloitte.  According to the study, the first eight advanced manufacturing institutes established between 2012 and 2016 have reached a critical mass of valuable connections among 1,200 participating companies, universities and government agencies. Those connections are accelerating the innovation needed to develop new products and markets, helping alleviate a shortage of technically trained manufacturing workers, and building a sustainable national manufacturing research infrastructure.


"There are early signs that [the] institutes are reaching ‘tipping points’ where the organizations see membership as necessary to their own success and seek out membership without being prompted,” wrote the study authors.

Deloitte’s review examined the effectiveness of the Manufacturing USA’s program design, assessed progress made toward achieving program objectives, and recommended areas where Manufacturing USA and its institutes could enhance programs.

The study team’s conclusions flow from stakeholder interviews with agency personnel, institute leadership and staff, CEOs and leaders of Fortune 500 companies, and independent external experts in manufacturing from prominent research universities and industry groups. The team made site visits to the eight institutes and used crowdsourcing applications to determine how a diverse array of institute participants benefited from the Manufacturing USA network and how it could better serve them.

The institutes have already attracted hundreds of members, including “influential U.S. companies such as Boeing, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Ford,” and others of various sizes and at different points along the supply chain and R&D pipeline. The evaluation found that the institutes have created “true public-private partnerships that are successfully uniting academia, industry and government across the country.”

Deloitte found “numerous examples of companies connecting and working together in ways that would not have occurred independent of the institutes.” These various projects are helping to reduce the cost and risk of experimentation, which means that each member’s investment goes farther.


Download the report: Manufacturing USA: A Third-Party Evaluation of Program Design and Progress

Find more detailed information on Manufacturing USA institutes here.


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