In February, 2023, Amentum, one of the US’s largest government services contractors, was awarded $4.6 billion by the US Air Force (USAF) to modernize the supply chains related to the US military’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Amentum will be specifically focused on the digitization of supply chains, by sourcing products and delivering services via technologies including additive manufacturing (AM) and robotic process automation (RPA).
A truck being unloaded at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Image courtesy of Wikipedia
The contract, which has a five-year base period followed by five one-year option periods, is part of the USAF Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate’s Parts and Repairs Ordering System VI (PROS VI) Program. Through PROS VI, USAF is responsible for procuring and delivering goods and services to the foreign military customers of the USAF, US Navy, and US Army. Amentum will manage the PROS VI contract out of Fairborn, OH, less than five miles from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Image courtesy of Amentum
This is a big deal, and not just for Amentum. It essentially amounts to the creation of an Alibaba-style commercial clearing house for the FMS customers of the US military. Most importantly, this includes NATO and its closest allies.
Amentum has only existed for three years, but it is a spin-off of the behemoth infrastructure consultancy AECOM, a spin-off that took place, curiously enough, in February, 2020. Thus, any 3D printing company that is absorbed into the Amentum fold will not only have it made, but will also, by virtue of their association with such a plugged-in outfit, be a good signal to everyone else about where the broader industry money is flowing.
And there is an astonishing amount of government money flowing into AM in 2023, and the pace will only accelerate as the funds from all the various infrastructure bills passed in 2022 are awarded. Even companies that might prefer not to have to wade in the murk of the government procurement supply chain will benefit, since the point of the funding is to stimulate the growth of a variety of interrelated sectors (those comprising “Industrial Revolution 4.0”). In any case, by 2024, companies that aren’t paying attention to what’s going on right now with public funding will likely be left wondering why they missed out on the AM boom.
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