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An American Manufacturing Movement: Competition

Tue, 01/03/2012 - 7:10am

The Council on Competitiveness’s Make: An American Manufacturing report issues a call to the American people to keep manufacturing a cornerstone of American independence, economic prosperity, and national security. This series was recently presented to the government as a non-partisan strategy to resolve issues facing American manufacturing, which remains a driver of innovation and job creation, even as automa­tion and technology make manufacturing more effi­cient. A new era of manufacturing excellence offers hope for good jobs, new innovations, and a higher standard of living. America would benefit from faster economic growth, a more secure industrial and defense base, and an ability to produce solutions to national challenges in energy, health, environment, and the economy.

Americans have lost production of cutting-edge innovations developed in America because of tax, regulatory, skill, finance, and infrastructure limitations that make production elsewhere more competitive. Americans have always been pioneers, risk-takers, and makers. The Council’s task is to set those impulses free and embrace production. Americans have proven adept at rising to the economic challenge of their time. Such a time is now for manufacturing—and Americans can set in place the policies to ignite a new era of competitive and sustainable manufacturing.

 

CHALLENGE: Create a competitive advantage through next generation supply networks and advanced logistics.
SOLUTION: Develop and deploy smart, sustainable, and resilient energy, transportation, production, and cyber infrastructures.

Recommendation: Congress should increase the number of public-private infrastructure partnerships and explore opportunities to privatize large infrastructure projects.

  • Provide incentives or joint ownership opportunities for private-public partnerships to invest in infrastructure projects benefiting U.S. manufacturing broadly such as ports, railroads, roads, nuclear facilities, the electric grid, information technology, and cyber infrastructures.

Recommendation: Congress should authorize the Export-Import Bank to fund domestic infrastructure projects.

  • Authorize the bank to accept for funding any infrastructure project with a potential federal commitment of $75 million to $100 million or more.
  • Issue infrastructure bonds and provide loan guarantees to state or local governments issuing debt to finance-qualified infrastructure projects.

Recommendation: Congress should develop and implement a national strategy to reduce overall energy demand by rewarding efficiency and improving transmission infrastructure.

  • Encourage region-appropriate methods of power generation to avoid loss of generated energy through independent regional planning authorities overseen by FERC.
  • Replace and upgrade sections of the grid prone to the greatest efficiency losses to improve reliability and reduce overall energy demand.
  • Develop smart grid technology standards that allow advanced metering technologies to operate on any smart grid infrastructure, which supports infrastructure continuity for rapid repair and upgrades.
  • Focus R&D in grid-related technologies, incorporating relevant tools such as high performance computing to model and simulate solutions to generate, transport, and distribute energy.
  • Streamline the siting, permitting, and building processes for new energy-related infrastructure.
  • Maintain incentives for manufacturers to reduce their energy footprint through efficiency measures or new long-term capital investments.

Recommendation: Congress and the administration should create a joint cyber command to improve cyber infrastructure and protect traditional defense, commercial, and consumer interests.

  • Shift funding priorities to develop next generation cyber security protocols and portals, and support state-of-the-art innovation in data management and distribution systems.
  • Encourage high-speed communications and innovation through broadband infrastructure investment.
  • Accelerate development, expansion, hardening, and maintenance of national cyber infrastructures to eliminate vulnerabilities.
  • Ensure trusted manufacturing of critical cyber infrastructure and a trusted manufacturing supply-chain for defense components and others.
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