The United States has long thrived on its ability to manufacture goods and sell them in domestic and global markets. Manufacturing plays a vital role in almost every sector of the U.S. economy, stretching from aerospace to pharmaceuticals and beyond. Advanced manufacturing—which includes both new manufacturing methods and production of new products enabled by innovation—is an engine of America’s economic power and a pillar of its national security. Advances in manufacturing enable the economy to continuously improve as new technologies and innovations increase productivity, enable new products, and create entirely new industries.
Advances in manufacturing played a major role in America’s global economic dominance in the 20th century. However, this century saw dramatic changes, with significant declines in U.S. manufacturing employment starting in the 1990s and accelerating losses during the 2008 recession. In the face of intense global competition, the Trump Administration has taken strong actions to defend the economy, expand manufacturing employment, and ensure a strong manufacturing and defense industrial base and resilient supply chain. Strong actions are required to combat unfair global trade practices and help U.S. manufacturers reach their full market potential. Although manufacturing employment remains below its pre-recession level, manufacturing jobs still account for 8.5 percent of the workforce, and nearly 350,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since President Trump took office.
This strategic plan was developed by the National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Technology, Subcommittee on Advanced Manufacturing following extensive public outreach. It presents a vision for American leadership in advanced manufacturing across industrial sectors to ensure national security and economic prosperity, to be achieved by pursuing three goals:
1.Develop and transition new manufacturing technologies;
2.Educate, train, and connect the manufacturing workforce; and
3.Expand the capabilities of the domestic manufacturing supply chain.
Strategic objectives are identified for each goal, along with technical and program priorities with specific actions and outcomes to be accomplished over the next four years. The table at the end of this Executive Summary identifies Federal agencies that will contribute to each of the goals and objectives.
This strategic plan is motivated by the factors that impact innovation and competitiveness for advanced manufacturing. Rapid advances in technology, in combination with economic forces, are changing the ways products and services are conceived, designed, made, distributed, and supported. While rapid innovation has long been a defining attribute of American industry, private investments in manufacturing-based technologies have dramatically shrunk in recent years as investors focused on the rapid return on investments possible through software-based start-ups. Manufacturing leadership in emerging markets, exports, and trade not only requires investment in advanced technologies, but the ability to effectively leverage new technologies and platforms across industrial sectors. Although not the focus of this plan, manufacturing leadership requires trade policies that protect and advance U.S. industry; by ensuring fair and reciprocal trade, the United States can secure an optimal environment for growth in advanced manufacturing.
Although the United States is still the largest producer of products in some sectors, a worrisome development is the sharp decline in production and employment in some strategically important sectors, notably the communications and computer industries. America’s manufacturing and defense industrial base and supply chain, composed of these and other key sectors, is essential to economic prosperity and must maintain the capacity to rapidly innovate and arm our warfighters to prevail in any conflict.