The NAM’s Growth Agenda lays out policies that will make manufacturers in the United States the world’s leading innovators. This can be accomplished partly through federal government support of Federal research agencies and encouraging strong collaborations between the public and private sector. These innovations and the resulting intellectual property coming out of the private and public sector also need to be protected. A robust Federal cybersecurity infrastructure therefore needs improvement. The budget released today by President Obama gives considerable attention to these issues important to manufacturers.
The President’s budget provides for $143B investment in Federal research and development spending across multiple agencies. Much of the research spending is geared specifically toward advances in manufacturing innovation and technology. Of the overall R&D spending, $2.9B is set aside for supporting advanced manufacturing efforts at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce. The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program which is highly utilized by many small manufacturers also receives a $25M increase in the FY14 budget request.
Cybersecurity investment appears to be a priority for the Administration by just looking at the numbers. Almost across the board increases are seen in agencies such as the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to support cybersecurity research and development inside the government and cyberworkforce training. It also supports the NAM-supported multi-agency Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program.
Another focus of the President’s budget is the mandatory $1B in new spending for a new program called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). This money will fund fifteen regional centers to develop and commercialize emerging technologies. The NAM is in support of this concept but still remains concerned about where the money is found to fund it.
These numbers by themselves are all good news for today’s manufacturers that must continue to out-innovate their competitors around the world. We are pleased by this commitment by the Federal government to take the necessary steps to put manufacturers on the front of the cutting edge of innovative developments.
The investments are real commitments to manufacturers and in support of the NAM Growth Agenda. But many other steps need to be made before new dollars can be spent and manufacturers can have the ability to participate in these projects. Manufacturers will continue to push all policymakers to give us a comprehensive innovation agenda which will include delivering on the entire NAM Growth Agenda, not just this one piece of it.