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Defense Additive Manufacturing: DOD Needs to Systematically Track Department-wide 3D Printing Efforts (GAO-16-56) (Oct. 14, 2015) (full-text).
Additive manufacturing — building products layer-by-layer in a process often referred to as three-dimensional (3D) printing — has the potential to improve aspects of DOD's mission and operations. DOD and other organizations, such as America Makes, are determining how to address challenges to adopt this technology throughout the department.
Senate Report 113-44 directed DOD to submit a briefing or report on additive manufacturing to the Senate Armed Services Committee that describes three elements. Senate Report 113-176 included a provision that GAO review DOD's use of additive manufacturing. This report addresses the extent to which (1) DOD's briefing to the Committee addresses the directed elements; (2) DOD has taken steps to implement additive manufacturing to improve performance, improve combat capability, and achieve cost savings; and (3) DOD uses mechanisms to coordinate and systematically track additive manufacturing efforts across the department.
GAO recommends that DOD designate an Office of the Secretary of Defense lead to be responsible for developing and implementing an approach for systematically tracking department-wide activities and resources, and results of these activities; and for disseminating these results to facilitate adoption of the technology across the department.