I believe that 'effective' military spending is a good thing. I agree that inadequate military spending is bad for both our national security and for the manufacturing sector. However, wasteful military spending is also harmful for the country as a whole.
I see where American companies and manufacturers now use lean, efficient techniques to reduce waste and compete. Can the military also adopt some of these effective new techniques to be more competitive? I'm not suggesting that we lose any 'muscle', I'm suggesting that wasteful spending be reduced to further improve the military's value to our national security and our economy.
Interesting thoughts, Rich. I agree that manufacturing is an economic stimulant. History shows it was heavy military spending on WWII that finally lifted us out of the Depression. Recent cutbacks in military and other federal spending -- while intended to cut the deficit -- seem to have created a drag on what would otherwise be a more robust recovery.
The good news is that offshore manufacturing is coming back. Plus, there seems to be evidence that manufacturing that would otherwise be aimed for Asia is staying home. There are a ton of reasons, many of which are outlined in the Design News article on medical manufacturing: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=264831
According to A.T. Kearney's 2013 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index (FDICI) released last week, the U.S. has passed China to become the world's largest manufacturer again. So manufacturing is on the rise in the U.S. in spite of military cutbacks.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.