Each military service has a manufacturing technology (MANTECH) function, and I recently visited one at the Navy-Industry Day in Washington. "Awesome, Dude!" is not really my expressive style, but you get the idea. Managed by Deputy Under Secretary for Defense, DOD MANTECH began in the late 1960s and since has contributed greatly to defense-essential manufacturing processes, enabling cost-effective transition of new technology to military and subsequent civil use with reduced life-cycle costs and assured high quality products. Within Navy, criteria for MANTECH programs are that projects pertain to specific needs; have significant, positive impact on manufacturing across the U.S. industrial base; be sufficiently difficult to warrant expenditures; are not duplicative of other military or industrial work; have strong commitment via defined transition to users; and has direct benefit for multiple Navy or other defense agency programs and the private sector. If your firm provides items to the Navy supply chain, and you believe fabrication processes might be improved, you may be a MANTECH candidate. Check the web sites shown as you explore this concept.
The Best Manufacturing Practices program began in 1985 to foster identification, validation and sharing of best practices. Core competences of BMP are on-site, no-cost, voluntary surveys of your operation. Ten regional centers offer technical references, a technical risk identification and mitigation system, and data bases describing 125 surveys and 5000 practices can be found at www.bmpcoe.org. This is just one of many centers of excellence described by Navy at www.navymantech.com and the annual Defense Manufacturing Conference, traditionally held the week after Thanksgiving, with sponsorship alternating between military services (see http://www.dodmantech.com.)