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A Look Into the DOD’s Evolving Approach to Industrial Base Engagement

In October, the Department of Defense announced its intent to publish its first National Defense Industrial Strategy to lay out its plans for investment in the defense industrial base.

According to Laura-Taylor Kale, assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy, the strategy will center five key areas: creating resilient supply chains; having an industrial base that can produce capabilities, services and technologies that are needed at speed, scale and cost; ensuring workforce readiness and development; delivering flexible acquisitions; and building in metrics for measurable outcomes. She hopes that the strategy will bring innovative new partners into the defense ecosystem.

Get an in-depth look at the ways in which the DOD is engaging with its industry partners at the Potomac Officers Club’s 10th Annual Defense R&D Summit. During the event, public and private sector experts will dive into defense research and development efforts, which are continuously shaped by collaboration. Click here to learn more, and click here to register to attend.

The strategy is on its way to completion. In August, Halimah Najieb-Locke, deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial base resilience, said the plan was already over a third of the way done and will be released in December. Early last month, Taylor-Kale said an implementation roadmap for the strategy is scheduled for release in January.

According to the White House, which recently highlighted the NDIS as a part of a larger push to strengthen U.S. supply chains, the strategy “will guide engagement, policy development and investment in the defense industrial base over the next three to five years.”

The DOD is also developing a Supply Chain Mapping Tool to analyze data from suppliers associated with 110 weapons systems to help the department create industrial base wargaming scenarios to spot vulnerabilities and determine mitigation strategies.

The NDIS builds upon the Defense Production Act, under which the DOD made $714 million in investments to strengthen supply chains for modern technologies in 2023.

Last month, the DOD selected South Star Battery Metals Corporation for a $3.2 million agreement to produce Coated, Spheronized, Purified Graphic at a Coosa County, Alabama-located facility. The graphite will be used to build lithium-ion battery anodes for use in military technologies.

Earlier, the department awarded $39.9 million in funding to Calumet Electronics Corporation to support the production of High-Density Build-Up substrates, which are a key part of many advanced technologies associated with radar, electronic warfare, processing and communications.

The DOD also recently invested in the American Center for Manufacturing and Innovation through its Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization office to progress munitions research and development activities to the production phase with a pilot campus.

Don’t miss your chance to hear from defense experts at the 10th Annual Defense R&D Summit – click here to secure your spot!

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