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4

Opportunities for Future Integration

ICMM will increase in importance as a means for DOD to develop and enhance the nation's defense technological superiority. Product and production process technology trends that are observable now will, by 2010, make ICMM even more attractive to DOD than it is today as a means of dealing with the significant challenges that will shape the defense acquisition climate, including the following:

  • System complexity will increase, driven by rapid advances in technology, the growing technological sophistication of potential adversaries, and a higher dependence on technology because of the changing nature of warfare-for example, unmanned, network-centric warfare, monitored and coordinated from space, and global asymmetric threats.

  • Defense budgets will continue to be under pressure, making it difficult to deliver more complex systems with the limited funds available. Advanced R&D investment in defense will compete with investments increasingly required to modernize, upgrade, and retrofit aging defense systems.

  • DOD is likely to experience a serious shortage of scientists and engineers qualified to conduct advanced R&D. This conclusion is based on current workforce demographics and declining numbers of graduate students in important fields of physical sciences and engineering, including physics, chemistry, metallurgical and materials engineering, and aeronautical engineering and increased competition from cutting-edge commercial industry (NRC, 2001).



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Page 22 4 Opportunities for Future Integration ICMM will increase in importance as a means for DOD to develop and enhance the nation's defense technological superiority. Product and production process technology trends that are observable now will, by 2010, make ICMM even more attractive to DOD than it is today as a means of dealing with the significant challenges that will shape the defense acquisition climate, including the following: System complexity will increase, driven by rapid advances in technology, the growing technological sophistication of potential adversaries, and a higher dependence on technology because of the changing nature of warfare-for example, unmanned, network-centric warfare, monitored and coordinated from space, and global asymmetric threats. Defense budgets will continue to be under pressure, making it difficult to deliver more complex systems with the limited funds available. Advanced R&D investment in defense will compete with investments increasingly required to modernize, upgrade, and retrofit aging defense systems. DOD is likely to experience a serious shortage of scientists and engineers qualified to conduct advanced R&D. This conclusion is based on current workforce demographics and declining numbers of graduate students in important fields of physical sciences and engineering, including physics, chemistry, metallurgical and materials engineering, and aeronautical engineering and increased competition from cutting-edge commercial industry (NRC, 2001).

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Page 23 Given these constraints and challenges, DOD will need more options for tapping into the strength of the commercial industrial base. A SPECTRUM OF CHOICES FOR MANUFACTURING INTEGRATION The tails of the ICMM spectrum are clear: unique defense solutions on one end and COTS on the other. Defense manufacturing is evolving. At one time, unique solutions were the norm, but DOD is now facing the reality that such solutions are costly, that acquisition time is excessive, and that pressure on defense spending, as well as technological and business trends, necessitates more affordable approaches. The opportunities for increased ICMM dictate considering the choices between the extremes of COTS and defense-unique manufacturing. The committee developed a commercial-military integration framework (Figure 4–1) that identifies ICMM opportunities between unique solutions and COTS. This framework provides a structure for the options available for ICMM that the committee found useful for developing strategy and recommendations. The basis for this ICMM framework is to consider both the product being purchased, i.e., the defense component or system, and the manufacturing process to produce it. COTS represents commercial products made by commercial processes, while the opposite end of the framework represents unique defense products made by unique defense processes. The opportunities between these end points include a range of dual-use manufacturing options: Enhanced commercial products manufactured on commercial production lines, Commercial products manufactured on enhanced commercial production lines, Unique defense systems manufactured on commercial production lines, and Unique defense systems manufactured on enhanced commercial production lines. “Enhanced” implies some improvement in product design or process capability so that the commercial source better meets defense (or dual) needs. The ICMM framework and ICMM options form the basis for the committee's strategy recommendations. INTEGRATION OPPORTUNITIES ENABLED BY TECHNOLOGY As DOD scans the R&D horizons and industry's technology roadmaps for

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Page 24 ~ enlarge ~ FIGURE 4–1 Commercial-military integration framework. leverage opportunities, a broad view of ICMM suggests that the answers to the following questions may serve as leading indicators of opportunity: In which applications will technology trends deliver commercial products that fully satisfy defense requirements, with at most a modest enhancement to the product design or the commercial production process? It would be important for DOD to identify such opportunities early to favorably influence its military systems and permit the fielding of new technologies by the United States before they are available to the nation's adversaries. In which applications will technology trends deliver commercial production processes capable of manufacturing defense-unique designs? Again, it would be important for DOD to identify early those emerging production technologies where no more than a modest enhancement would be needed to fully satisfy defense requirements. It would be equally important to identify where unique defense systems could be designed to fit the manufacturability constraints of emerging production processes. COMMERCIAL PRODUCT TECHNOLOGY TRENDS The technology trends discussed here represent future possibilities by the year 2010 but are by no means an all-inclusive forecast of the advanced commercial technologies that could be leveraged by DOD over the next decade. In general, the commercial product trends that will be most relevant to DOD as ICMM opportunities will be in areas where the commercial product application is

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Page 25similar to that of the defense product and DOD can obtain low-volume access to high-volume production for a variant of the product, enhanced (if necessary) for military use. (Other ICMM opportunities will arise from process trends, rather than products, where commercial manufacturing can be configured to run defense product on the same line.) The economics of high-volume markets enables commercial industry to advance technology and reduce costs at a pace that defense could never afford. This has been and continues to be the case in microelectronics. It is also the case for Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, cellular phones, and turbine engines. High-volume commercial production enables a faster descent of the learning curve and a firmer statistical foundation for in-line process control, six-sigma quality, and higher process yields of reliable parts. Some product technology trends to consider as future ICMM opportunities include the following: Wireless communications technology. At the component level, GaAs components and assemblies for cell phones and military use are coproduced, and the trend will continue as new wide-bandgap materials are developed. Higher-level assemblies with advanced analog-digital conversion, signal processors, and steerable phased-array antennas will also offer ICMM opportunities. Photonics. The trend toward integration of photonics and electronics at the chip level will open possibilities for increased ICMM, especially in communications systems. Commercial high-powered lasers will also be candidates for military applications in targeting, imaging, and counter-measures. Night vision systems. Uncooled infrared (IR) imagers are now entering the commercial market and will dwarf the military market by 2010. Low-cost IR devices can revolutionize night vision, missile seekers, and other applications. This commercial technology can also give potential adversaries capabilities that they could not previously afford. Biomedical technology. The rapid advances in human genomics, microfluidic chips, computational drug discovery, and medical instrumentation will have direct COTS application to military healthcare as well as ICMM potential for biowarfare defense products. Fuel cells. Commercial developments in fuel cells, from palm-size to industrial-size generators, offer the military an important means for powering the electronics and stealthy vehicles of 2010 and beyond. Microprocessors. Over the next decade, microprocessors will be economically viable as substitutes in the functions currently delivered by integrated circuits (ICs), application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and discrete electronic components. Electronic functions will be software

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Page 26 reconfigured to the task at hand. This trend will reduce electronics costs, increase system reliability by reducing the number of parts, and have the net effect of reducing the number of unique electronics subsystems required in defense systems. Micro-opto-electromechanical systems (MOEMS). This technology trend offers such great promise as an ICMM opportunity that the committee singled it out for further discussion in the section below. Microscale Systems Combining Optical, Electronic, and Mechanical Devices For several years, MEMS technology (or MOEMS, if optics is included) has been viewed as an important technology with the potential to affect the 21st century as much as microelectronics technology affected the 20th century. In fact, among the unique attributes of MEMS or MOEMS is the opportunity to achieve low cost through semiconductor-like batch processing on wafers, where thousands of devices can be produced essentially at the cost of producing just one (Tang, 1999). MEMS is an enabling technology that can be leveraged across broad product markets. This technology represents a unique opportunity for ICMM in multiple applications, including information and communications, health and life sciences, automotive, aerospace, measurement and control, and power systems. The timing is right to accomplish ICMM through MEMS technology. MEMS is an emerging technology, and MEMS factories (also called “fabs,” just as semiconductor chip factories are called) of the future are emerging as well. With appropriate planning and investment, creating MEMS fabs capable of producing defense and commercial devices on the same production line will be straightforward. In the defense world, DARPA is already leading the way in exploiting MEMS technology for military applications. For example, DARPA has already developed a MEMS-based platform stabilization system that replaces $1,000 worth of conventional accelerometers and gyroscopes with a single chip that costs $20 (Global Information, Inc., undated). Given the priority and R&D investment being applied to MEMS technology in Europe and Asia, it is not clear that the United States will emerge as the global leader, as it did in microelectronics (Detlefs, 1998). Embracing MEMS as an ICMM opportunity, to the extent that it drives R&D investment in MEMS applications as well as the processes to manufacture them, could have significant implications for future U.S. global competitiveness.

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Page 27 Commercial Manufacturing Processes and Business Trends The committee noted several macro trends in commercial design, manufacturing, and business processes that will create a climate for increased ICMM opportunities: E-commerce. Tools and methods for e-commerce that can drive automated manufacturing in supply chains are advancing rapidly in the commercial world. They will become a ubiquitous and important enabler of ICMM well before 2010, an easy port of entry to commercial manufacturing for DOD. DOD and defense prime contractors will be able to access and understand the process capabilities of commercial suppliers rapidly, and DOD will be able to issue solicitations and access competitive quotes online, globally if necessary, with fast cycle times. With a clear understanding of process capabilities and competitive costs across the commercial marketplace, DOD will be well positioned to make appropriate sourcing decisions. Electronic commerce will have important implications for DOD in the future. For example, with the existence of digital product databases, make-to-order spare parts could greatly reduce defense inventories and their associated costs. In addition, the e-commerce capabilities discussed above can be used to rapidly increase the total production capacity for military goods in case of a crisis by using industry-accepted methods of data exchange to enhance communications with new suppliers. Contract manufacturing. Contract manufacturing is becoming standard practice in commercial industry for circuit boards, for plastic molding, and even for the manufacturing and testing of subsystems or final products. Contract manufacturing, as described in Chapters 2 and 3, offers DOD and its prime contractors a significant ICMM opportunity by leveraging a flexible, high-volume manufacturing base with multibillion-dollar assets, thereby achieving economies of scale in purchasing and production. Use of this production base will permit application of broad, high-volume experience to defense manufacturing, and the resulting learning curves will lead to lower cost and higher quality. Precision engineering. Consumer products, particularly consumer electronics, are becoming more and more miniaturized, fueled to a large degree by product designers in Asia. Miniaturization here leads to products that are more portable or that incorporate more features in the same pack-age. The trend toward miniaturization drives smaller physical dimensions and proportionately smaller dimensional tolerances. These trends require commercial manufacturing processes and tooling capable of higher precision than in the past. As commercial manufacturing evolves to higher

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Page 28precision capability, opportunities will open up for DOD to leverage this capability for defense precision manufacturing needs that were once beyond the scope of commercial production. Structural and functional integration. Wherever possible, commercial designers are making use of embedded microprocessors and integrated analog circuits, sensors, and actuators to reduce the number of parts and assembly operations. Clever design approaches to multifunctional integration can achieve not only substantial cost reductions but also improved performance. In addition, parts rationalization and a reduction in the number of fasteners are often achieved by the use of complex precision castings, forgings, and sheet stampings that integrate structural functions and employ integral fastening methods. Advanced CAD/CAM. By 2010 it will be possible to go routinely from “art to part” in a totally automated process; that is, it will be possible to create the three-dimensional solid model of a mechanical part, transfer the model electronically to the supplier of choice, and automatically program a “fixtureless” numerically controlled (NC) machine to make the part with essentially no human intervention. Further commercial advances could make it possible to go well beyond automated NC machining. It is possible that the three-dimensional solid model could also drive the automated flexible assembly of parts and automated calibration and testing of assembled products, although it is not clear how far commercial investment will drive this technology. Ultimately, with appropriate investment, the end result would be true mass customization in which the manufacture of a single item becomes viable. Rapid prototyping has already advanced sufficiently to realize this goal for some classes of parts. Despite the broad success of U.S. companies during the 1990s, there is a steady retreat from domestic manufacturing in many fields (NRC, 1999b). This may add risk to ICMM. While contract manufacturing is a significant trend, few contract manufacturers of circuit boards are based in the United States. DOD will have to assess the risks of depending on foreign suppliers to enable ICMM and take appropriate action. Importance of Early Visibility Commercial markets will continue to drive technology advances where volumes are high and profitability potential justifies the technology investments. Microelectronics was a classic example of this in the 20th century. Where the commercial technology advances result in COTS solutions, leverage by DOD is straightforward. Otherwise, commercial technology advancements will proceed but leverage by DOD will be difficult. Given the competitive pressures on

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Page 29commercial manufacturers today, defense needs are unlikely to be of interest, particularly if defense volumes are low. Therefore, DOD should engage early with applicable commercial technology trends, particularly where product specs or process capability must be tweaked to accommodate a defense need, so that the technology advancement opportunity can be seized. Special Defense Requirements Commercial technology advances are generally targeted for use in environments that are far less hostile than many defense systems must withstand. Environmental compatibility can prevent the adoption of commercial technology advances for defense needs and was always a common reason for specifying military-unique components in the past. The report Defense Manufacturing in 2010 and Beyond (NRC, 1999a) identifies the qualification of commercial parts for these harsh environments as a gap that needs to be addressed to allow making use of commercial manufacturing capacity. These environmental considerations include zero gravity, vacuum, radiation, temperature and humidity extremes and cycles, vibration and shock, and electromagnetic interference. The Defense Manufacturing report also states that DOD will have to qualify commercial parts that are not specifically designed to withstand these environments and modify them to meet military needs or develop system designs to compensate for their limitations. Where harsh environmental conditions are a serious requirement for a defense application of commercial technology, early involvement in development will be critical to assure that new commercial components can withstand or be adapted to withstand military operating conditions.