Washington, DC – Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) led the 14-member New Jersey Congressional delegation in writing a bipartisan letter to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to enhance partnerships between Department of Defense (DoD) research laboratories and Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Farleigh Dickinson University, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

All five academic institutions are already conducting ground-breaking research in advanced manufacturing, which is driving the next generation of our manufacturing workforce. Establishing partnerships with DoD labs, particularly Picatinny Arsenal, will not only enable our military to draw on top academic talent, but will give New Jersey’s students the important opportunity to contribute to our nation’s defense.

The letter led by Representative Sherrill is co-signed by: Senators Robert Menendez and Cory A. Booker, Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

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Full text of letter:

Dear Under Secretary,

New Jersey leads the nation in advanced manufacturing research, and several research and teaching institutions in New Jersey have longstanding and productive research partnerships with the Department of Defense. Section 229 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 directed the Department of Defense to enhance partnerships between its research laboratories and academic institutions for the further development of advanced manufacturing techniques in support of the defense industrial base.

We urge you to use authorities under 10 USC 2368 to facilitate public-private partnerships and expand and enhance cooperative agreements on advanced manufacturing with Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The latter's Additive Manufacturing Lab is already working with Picatinny Arsenal to develop critical additive manufacturing capabilities. Rutgers, Stevens, Rowan and Fairleigh Dickinson are together making ground-breaking advances and support the development of the next generation of our manufacturing workforce.

The Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center at Picatinny Arsenal uses additive manufacturing technology to rapidly design, prototype, and produce armaments. The Printed Electronics Energetics Materials and Sensors (PEEMS) facility at Picatinny is the Army's most advanced lab for the design, development, fabrication, testing, and integration of advanced materials and additive manufacturing techniques specifically for munitions, armaments, and equipment for our soldiers. For example, engineers at Picatinny are using additive manufacturing to develop the next generation hand grenade to give our soldiers a qualitative edge, and electronics and energetics to improve Long Range Precision Fires - two of the Army's top modernization priorities. Picatinny's engineers are also testing additive manufacturing to enable the Army to immediately replace critically damaged or lost equipment in the field. We urge you to use the authority provided in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 to further encourage such partnerships with Picatinny Arsenal and other defense laboratories nationwide.

We look forward to hearing from you on how the Department of Defense is facilitating the development of advanced manufacturing techniques in support of the defense industrial base.

Sincerely,