Skip to content

Makerspaces in the US Army, Innovation from the Ground Up

  • today
  • access_time -
  • location_on408 B
  • blur_circularConference
Conference Abstract: Through a U.S. Army innovation initiative, three vibrant makerspaces have been setup, and more are yet to come. The U.S. Army Combat Capability Development Command (DEVCOM)’s Pathfinder program engages Soldiers to identify immediate needs that result in quick solutions, which may then be rolled out to the rest of the US Army or other Department of Defense agencies. Due to the rapid pace of technological advancements, Soldiers need swift solutions. Makerspaces on U.S. Army bases allow Soldiers to explore solutions to problems they see on a daily basis. With advanced technologies at their fingertips and engineering support Soldiers design, build, and test solutions that advance safety, training, operations, and lethality.

To streamline operations and speed of delivery, DEVCOM and operational unit partners work in collaboration with a non-profit organization, the Civil Military Innovation Institute (CMI2) to provide engineering resources and support. Each facility houses equipment that correlates directly to the needs of that installation.

While additive manufacturing initially started with a 3D printer or two printing polylactic acid at each location, it has expanded to small banks of 3D printers printing simultaneously with a variety of materials and products. Through this program, the Army is building a model for Soldier development in areas such as principles of engineering, research and design process, computer-aided design, and additive manufacturing. When applications are beyond the capabilities of the makerspace, units lean on DEVCOM resources, university relations, and industry support. The makerspace provides a place where Soldiers, civilians, military, academia, and industry can brainstorm, build, test, evaluate, collaborate, and innovate from the ground up.
  • Randy Emert
    DIRT Lab Manager
    Civil Military Innovation Institute (CMI2)