The groundbreaking for the Naval 3D Printing Center Summit was attended by the US Secretary of the Navy.


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The recent Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) and Navy Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM COE) Summit was a great success, showcasing the advancements and plans in the defense manufacturing industry. The event, held in Danville, VA, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), brought together around 400 attendees, including Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

One of the highlights of the summit was Secretary Del Toro’s speech on October 11. He addressed the importance of the region’s “incredibly talented” labor pool, emphasizing how these professionals play a critical role in manufacturing mission-essential parts for submarines and ships. He also highlighted the Navy’s commitment to President Biden’s vision of a future that’s “Made in America” and emphasized the significance of the Navy’s efforts in Danville in supporting this initiative.

During the summit, the groundbreaking ceremony for the ATDM Regional Training Center (RTC) took place. This new facility, expected to open by 2025, will be a standalone, 100,000 square foot facility on IALR’s campus. The Navy plans to train 1,000 workers annually at the RTC, with the goal of addressing the workforce shortage in the industry.

Whitney Jones, the director of the Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB), also spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. He encouraged the attendees, particularly the students, to take ownership of the new facility and improve it, emphasizing that this was not just a moment but a movement.

Secretary Del Toro, in an interview with the Danville Register & Bee, reiterated the severity of the worker shortage and the importance of programs like the RTC in addressing this need promptly. Workforce development is a significant focus of the Navy’s current efforts to revitalize the SIB.

The need for a skilled workforce in defense manufacturing is crucial, especially in light of the US’s strategic competition with China in submarine production. The US is racing against time to meet its production deadlines, given China’s progress in developing new nuclear-armed submarines that are exceptionally quiet and difficult to detect.

While the progress made in Danville is commendable, it is clear that a single region or branch cannot accomplish the monumental task of revamping the defense industrial base alone. Partnerships and collaborations, such as the one between Indiana University and the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane, are essential in strengthening the industry.

Secretary Del Toro’s comments also highlighted the role of Bidenomics in supporting the defense industry. The connection between ongoing developments and the efforts to bolster the defense industrial base has been evident for some time. However, this statement from a government official underscores the direct linkage between the two.

Overall, the ATDM and Navy AM COE Summit showcased the determination and collaborative efforts to address the challenges faced by the defense manufacturing industry. With a focus on training and workforce development, as well as partnerships and investments, the industry aims to meet its goals and ensure national security in the face of growing competition.

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“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”


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