The focus of advanced manufacturing is not on product lines, but on the processes by which products are built. Advanced manufacturing is the methodology behind the current revolution in manufacturing affairs that is redistributing comparative advantage worldwide. Manufacturing has fundamentally changed with the arrival of global competition. This is evidenced by those enterprises capable of distributing value chain production worldwide and reducing costs by exploiting automation and information integration. The US cannot and should not attempt to compete on a labor cost basis. Our comparative advantage resides in technological and process innovations that boost productivity and make advanced manufacturing possible. Since manufacturing underpins all aspects of the economy, its importance to national defense should not be underestimated. A well thought out and consistent government policy on advanced manufacturing can do much to nurture and extend America's competitive advantage in this sector.
ICAF Industry Studies 1998