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25 Feb 14. President Barack Obama announced two new manufacturing innovation institutes led by the Defense Department and supported by a $140m federal commitment combined with more than $320m in private-sector commitments. A consortium of businesses and universities headquartered in the Detroit area will a focus on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing, and a Chicago-headquartered consortium of businesses and universities will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design technologies. “If we want to attract more good manufacturing jobs to America, we’ve got to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of new manufacturing techniques and technologies,” the president said. “I don’t want the next big job-creating discovery to come from Germany or China or Japan. I want it to be ‘Made in America.'” Each institute serves as a regional hub, officials explained, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, as well as federal agencies, to co-invest in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the United States. This type of “teaching factory” provides a unique opportunity for education and training of students and workers at all levels, they added, while providing the shared assets to help companies — most importantly small manufacturers — access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes. The winning Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute team, led by EWI, brings together a 60-member consortium that pairs the world’s leading aluminum, titanium, and high strength steel manufacturers with universities and laboratories pioneering new technology development and research, officials said. Its long-term goal will be to expand the market for and create new consumers of products and systems that use new, lightweight, high performing metals and alloys by removing technological barriers to their manufacture. Noting that car manufacturers now use stronger steel to make lighter cars that use less gas, Obama noted that advanced lightweight metals “can help us build lighter armor for our troops, planes and helicopters that bigger payloads without sacrificing safety, wind turbines that generate more power at less cost, prosthetic limbs that help people walk again who never thought they could.” The winning Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute team, led by UI Labs, spearheads a consortium of more than 70 companies, universities, nonprofits, and research labs — creating a partnership between world-leading manufacturing experts and cutting-edge software companies to enable interoperability across the supply chain, develop enhanced digital capabilities to design and test new products, and reduce costs in manufacturing processes across multiple industries, officials said.
24 Feb 14. Army’s move to Samsung reflects a flexible mobile strategy. When the Defense Department introduced its Commercial Mobile Implementation Plan a year ago, it said the plan would accommodate Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices for a variety of uses. Several recent purchases seem to bear that out. The Army recently agreed to buy 7,000 Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphones to add to its Nett Warrior system, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Samsung also is close to a deal to supply several thousands of its devices to the National Security Agency, a source told the Journal. The Air Force, meanwhile, recently said it was going to replace 5,000 BlackBerry devices with Apple iOS devices as part of its effort to modernize use of mobile technology. The moves to Samsung and Apple devices may come at the expense of BlackBerry, but there are still plenty of those around — the Defense Informati