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Immediate Release

Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks' and SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman's Meeting With AM Forward Partners

Attributable to Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman met yesterday at the Pentagon with executives from Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Stifel Financial, and Applied Science & Technology Research Organization (ASTRO) America to discuss President Biden’s AM Forward initiative, share perspectives on collectively advancing critical technology and manufacturing priorities vital to U.S. national security and the potential of SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program to help overcome those barriers.

“The AM Forward initiative tells a compelling story about the power of partnerships to ensure that America’s small and medium sized businesses continue to lead the world in innovation and critical technologies,” said Deputy Secretary Hicks.

Deputy Secretary Hicks highlighted President Biden’s AM Forward initiative as an example of how the Biden-Harris Administration is working with the private sector to protect America’s enduring technological advantage and further strengthen America’s supply chain by bringing together large manufacturers to help smaller U.S.-based suppliers increase their use of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.

“By partnering with DoD and leveraging SBA’s long-standing public private investment partnerships through the SBIC program, we will accelerate manufacturing innovation in the U.S. industrial base by enabling access to capital and expertise networks capable of addressing the biggest challenges faced by the small business suppliers critical to U.S. national security,” said Administrator Guzman.

Through AM Forward, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), who have made voluntary commitments under the AM Forward initiative, work directly with their U.S.-based suppliers to demonstrate clear demand for additively-produced parts AM Forward helps suppliers with demand, financing, supplier qualification, and training- all critical in promoting supplier adoption of additive manufacturing technology. While this meeting focused on financing, there is progress across all four areas.

“AM Forward is a crucial part our Administration’s Investing in America agenda because it provides an opportunity to both strengthen supply chain resiliency and support small businesses in the U.S. defense industrial base.” said Ms. Joelle Gamble, National Economic Council Deputy Director. “We see AM Forward as a model for other industries– a way for large companies to improve the business case for their suppliers to adopt new technology, and a way for USG to coordinate our programs to make implementation faster and easier.” 

ASTRO America, a non-profit, non-partisan Research Institute dedicated to advancing the public interest through manufacturing technology and policy, in partnership with Stifel Financial, Lockheed, and GE intend to identify and invest in lower middle market businesses working to increase American national security supply chain resilience while reducing production costs and timelines for critical components through additive manufacturing.

A critical objective of the AM Forward initiative is investment in recruiting, retaining, and adapting the workforce so the full spectrum of the defense ecosystem will be able to leverage advanced manufacturing techniques and a highly skilled labor pool when producing innovative capabilities.

Administrator Guzman and Deputy Secretary Hicks were joined by Ms. Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering; Dr. Radha Plumb, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment; Ms. Bailey DeVries, Associate Administrator, Head of the Office of Investment & Innovation; Ms. Joelle Gamble, National Economic Council Deputy Director; and Dr. Jason Rathje, Office of Strategic Capital Director.

The Deputy Secretary thanked the participants for their engagement and commitment to the AM Forward initiative and other initiatives that support US national security objectives.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and SBA Administrator Guzman launched a DoD-SBA partnership on December 3, 2022.

Since 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks have engaged with hundreds of industry and technology leaders as a part of a persistent, open communication strategy to advance the Department’s understanding of the U.S. innovation ecosystem, industry priorities and challenges, and better-prepare the United States to face the national security challenges of the 21st century.