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    U.S. Navy Amplifies Submarine Industrial Base With $500 Million Investment in BlueForge Alliance

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    In a substantial move to fortify its submarine industrial base, the U.S. Navy has invested a staggering $500 million into the Texas-based nonprofit BlueForge Alliance, and the figure is set to climb.

    During a roundtable held at the Naval Sea Systems Command on June 6, Matt Sermon, the executive director of the program executive office for strategic submarines, briefed reporters. “We have $605 million of supplier development [funding] in the [fiscal year 2024] national security supplemental and… I expect to engage those projects via BlueForge.”

    The BlueForge Alliance, established by Kiley Wren and Rob Gorham, has been a notable force in the industry since its inception in November 2022.

    060411-N-1810F-001 Kings Bay, Ga. (April 11, 2006) Ð The Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) makes her way through Cumberland Sound to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Florida will be officially welcomed to her new home in Kings Bay with a return to service ceremony scheduled for May 25, 2006 in Mayport, Fla. Florida is the second of four SSBN submarines to be converted to the guided missile SSGN platform. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Lynn Friant (RELEASED)

    The alliance has partnered with the U.S. Navy and General Dynamics Electric Boat, undertaking efforts to add 100,000 workers over the next decade.

    The collaborative work between the Navy and BlueForge has been transparent, with outreach efforts such as the BuildSubmarines.com website.

    The site communicates the Navy’s workforce requirements and has been promoted via billboards and advertisements at major events like MLB games, NASCAR races, and the Oscars.

    Sermon, an early Navy advocate for BlueForge Alliance who first discussed the initiative at a trade show in November, revealed that the organization’s founders, Kiley Wren and Rob Gorham, initially engaged the Navy following their collaboration with Texas A&M.

    The aspiring founders of BlueForge proposed supplier and workforce development pilot programs to Electric Boat and the Navy, which Electric Boat endorsed. Following a sole-source determination, Electric Boat appointed BlueForge to oversee the program.

    Their performance in pilot programs demonstrated their capacity to add value to shipbuilders, which kickstarted the relationship.

    As Sermon explained, the programs showed that they “added capacity to that group, the shipbuilders.”

    BlueForge’s influence extends to leading an additive manufacturing consortium across several universities. This effort aligns with working with equipment manufacturers to ensure meets the necessary material maturity.

    The initiatives by BlueForge and their rapid scale-up reflect a broader movement within the U.S. Navy to invest in its industrial base.

    In a parallel effort, the Navy’s collaboration with SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers) to recruit and train skilled workers supports a similar goal.

    Jeannine Kunz, SME’s Chief Workforce Development Officer, expressed the urgency of such collaborations to bridge the skills gap in the defense manufacturing workforce.

    Workforce Pipeline Challenge commenced with SME teaming up with 25 community and technical colleges and schools spanning 17 states. Their aim is to address talent shortages at a community and national level by attracting 75,000 or more skilled workers to pursue careers in manufacturing within the next three years. With the backing of BlueForge Alliance, this collaborative program is set to enhance, expand, and expedite its impact.

    Relevant articles:
    Navy investment in BlueForge Alliance up to $500 million, and growing, Breaking Defense
    Navy investment in BlueForge Alliance up to $500 million, and growing, newsbreak.com
    SME Announces Partnership with BlueForge Alliance to Build and Strengthen the Manufacturing Workforce, Morningstar
    plane to give ship COs local ISR assets, Breaking Defense

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