Digital manufacturing group aids national cybersecurity adoption

February 10, 2016 - 06:00pm

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), Chicago, announced Feb. 10 that it has issued $15 million in national contract research awards that include funding to test and aid compliance with the nation’s cybersecurity standards for digital manufacturing, according to a news release from the group. The money will be distributed among six new projects with 27 DMDII partners in 17 states.

Each project is said to reflect the core mission of DMDII, which is to propel the field of American digital manufacturing and design forward. DMDII is part of the UI LABS research and commercialization collaboration bringing universities and industries together to define problems, design partnerships and develop solutions.

"These project awards sponsor research that will change the way that manufacturers in all segments of the supply chain are able to engage in business," said Dr. Greg Harris, DMDII's program manager through the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center. "The investment in cybersecurity research is particularly exciting, as the U.S. manufacturing sector lacks the compliance pathway and workforce development plan to comply with current standards. This award is part of DMDII's commitment to moving American manufacturing beyond the 21st century."

Each project is said to be managed by a lead organization that coordinates work among other organizations on the team. The DMDII news release cited, for example, a project being spearheaded by the Rolls-Royce Corp. that includes Microsoft and 3D Systems, top-tier engineering school Georgia Tech, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Pennsylvania State University Advanced Research Laboratory, and  the Southwest Research Institute.

"Assessing, Remediating, and Enhancing DFARS Cybersecurity Compliance in Factory Infrastructure" is the first DMDII project focused specifically on cybersecurity, according to the group. The project seeks to test and validate a uniform cybersecurity standard for manufacturing, with the goal of improving the cybersecurity of the supply chain across the manufacturing industry.

As part of the project, which will include a review of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) cybersecurity standards for contractors, the team will conduct a series of case studies to assess the costs and capabilities manufacturers need to meet the DoD standards.

"Ultimately," the news release continued, "more manufacturers will be able to become DoD cybersecurity compliant, adding more potential contractors into the DoD and manufacturing pipeline. While this merely scratches the surface in addressing the cybersecurity needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises—and the manufacturing industry as a whole—it is an important initial step in enhancing the cybersecurity of the U.S. supply chain."

For more about the DMDII-funded projects, click here.


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