In today’s dynamic warfighting environment, the acquisition processes of yesteryear cannot keep pace with rapid advances in technology. Thus, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) seeks to create an enduring capability for rapid innovation and novel warfighting equipment. To this end, Launch Forth, Deloitte, and teaming partners are supporting the Marines’ development of such a capability, demonstrated with a three-stage approach to the rapid development and prototyping of a light tactical vehicle and a small cargo drone. First, designs for new equipment (i.e. the tactical vehicle and the drone) will be crowdsourced from a diverse group of engineering and industrial design experts. Second, winning crowdsourced concepts will be refined by a professional design team into a manufacturing-ready technical data package which will be managed in a digital thread. Third, physical prototypes will produced in a “micro factory” – a containerized, deployable factory containing a suite of digital manufacturing systems, including additive manufacturing, CNC milling, laser cutting, etc. The exact set of manufacturing equipment will be driven by final designs. The ability to crowdsource and digitally manufacture warfighting equipment, supported by an always-on, end-to-end digital thread, demonstrates a new mode of innovation and acquisition for the Marine Corps. This approach could be adapted to both other military/government agencies, as well as for commercial and industrial purposes.
- Understand how crowdsourcing, digital thread, and digital manufacturing combine to advance innovation
- Describe to others one approach to integrating these three technologies to achieve business goals