Navy drafting acquisition guide for additive manufacturing

By Justin Katz / October 21, 2019 at 4:09 PM

(Editor's Note: This blog post has been updated to include a comment from a Marine Corps spokeswoman.)

The Navy has been drafting a contracting and acquisition guide for additive manufacturing that it planned to publish last month and implement across the Pentagon, according to a government watchdog report.

"The AM Contracting and Acquisition Guide will include guidance on topics such as AM standards, intellectual property, and acquisition and contracting," a new Defense Department inspector general report states. "According to a Naval Supply Systems Command official, the Navy planned to issue the guide in September 2019."

A NAVSUP spokeswoman said the guidance has not been issued yet.

The Oct. 17 DOD IG report summarizes the Pentagon's efforts to incorporate additive manufacturing for sustaining vehicle and weapon parts.

The IG notes the military has not standardized what data it collects about parts that are additively manufactured to "ensure consistency in production, reporting requirements for AM equipment and funds spent to understand where the DOD is investing its resources."

The watchdog says the Pentagon's acquisition executive issued an interim policy in March 2019 "which defined the roles and responsibilities of the military services and the [Defense Logistics Agency]." The policy stated a DOD instruction on additive manufacturing would be published in 2020, according to the IG.

However, the IG report notes that neither the policy nor the Navy's guide will effectively standardize the data and reporting requirements as recommended by the IG.

The Pentagon's acquisition chief did not respond to the watchdog's recommendation.

Separately, in its response to the report, the Marine Corps deputy commandant for installations and logistics said the service plans to release "an enterprise-wide policy on AM in the form of a Marine Corps Order during" the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

"Within this policy, the Marine Corps has outlined specific processes and identified tasks to not only identify appropriate funding and personnel, but also establish processes and capability development to continue to enhance and mature AM throughout the Marine Corps," the report states.

Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Karoline Foote told Inside Defense the policy has not yet been published.