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Tim Kopper

NPI Applauds the Department of Defense Request for Information in Photonics in Support of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation


WASHINGTON – June 2, 2014 – The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) today applauded the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Request for Information (RFI) that would include photonics among the key technologies that could become the foundation for a new Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI) within the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The NPI, a collaborative alliance of top scientific societies seeking to raise awareness of the importance of photonics and drive US private and federal investments in key photonics-driven fields, had been pushing for this step by DoD.

“I am pleased that DoD is specifically interested in learning more about how the photonics community can contribute to the NNMI", said NPI Steering Committee Chairman, Tom Baer. “These public – private institutes are critical tools for expanding and enhancing US manufacturing capabilities. We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the integral role photonics plays in national security and throughout all of our economic sectors."

Photonics detects, generates and harnesses light to advance defense, manufacturing, health care, communications, energy and many other industries. It forms the backbone of the Internet, guides energy exploration and keeps our U.S. troops safe with night vision, GPS, and physiological feedback on the battlefield. Simply put, without photonics, the world as we know it would not be possible.

“With global competition on the rise, the NPI is committed to supporting concerted private and public investments in optics and photonics such as IMIs and the NNMI," Baer continued.  “A photonics innovative manufacturing institute focused on bridging the gap between advanced research and production will expand US leadership in photonics, ensure a robust supply chain and ultimately pay dividends in many sectors of the US economy."

The NPI’s recently released White Paper, Strategic Request: A National Photonics Prototyping and Advanced Manufacturing Facility to Ensure Economic Growth and National Security, advocates for a photonics IMI with the NNMI. The paper was developed by a committee of industry and academic experts and led by Dr. Alan Willner, Chair of the NPI’s Information Technology Communications Working Group.

“The NPI looks forward to continue serving as a resource to the photonics community," concluded Baer. “We will be urging companies, universities and nonprofit organizations to coordinate, develop and submit thoughtful, useful and compelling information to the Department of Defense as it considers photonics for a possible, new IMI."
About the NPI: The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. For more information visit www.lightourfuture.org.
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