WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján, and Michelle Lujan Grisham welcomed an announcement by the White House to award more than $200 million in public and private investment to create an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute, led by the Department of Defense (DoD), and the second of four new institute competitions to be launched this year. This selection comes just four months after the delegation wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressing their strong support for the Department of Defense's manufacturing innovation institute competition, and requesting that the DoD choose the development of an advanced photonics manufacturing hub in the United States as their next manufacturing institute.
“I have been pushing the Department of Defense to focus special attention on developing a photonics manufacturing hub, and this announcement is great opportunity for New Mexico,” Udall said. “Advanced photonics technologies are already spurring innovation in such diverse areas as medical imaging, national security, and robotics. New Mexico’s extensive expertise among its business, military and scientific communities puts our state in a prime position to compete for this opportunity and create high quality manufacturing jobs.”
“This is welcome news. New Mexico is uniquely positioned to house the nation’s first advanced photonics manufacturing hub. With our private companies, universities, national labs, research facilities, and immeasurable talent and expertise in optics and photonics technologies, New Mexico is--without a doubt--a natural fit,” Heinrich said. In July, Heinrich introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act in support of establishing a DoD photonics hub. “Photonics technologies developed in New Mexico are used in our scientific, medical, and intelligence communities – giving headway for advanced research in robotics, biometric security, and the defense industry. Establishing a regional photonics hub in New Mexico will bridge the gap between applied research and product development and lead our nation’s effort to attract investment and develop this technology. I am committed to help bring this opportunity to New Mexico.”
“New Mexico has continuously shown it is at the forefront of research and development of advanced and emerging technologies,” Pearce said. “Secretary Hagel’s announcement is great news for New Mexicans all across the state, as it provides New Mexico a tremendous opportunity to continue its leadership in technological development. The investment into New Mexico facilities and businesses this partnership provides, will increase resources and allow our state to maintain a competitive stance in industry. I look forward to working closely with the Department of Defense in the near future to develop and secure the photonics manufacturing hub. Working together, I am confident that New Mexico will remain a leader in developing technology.”
“New Mexico offers a wealth of resources, ranging from our national labs and universities to our innovative private companies and entrepreneurs, which make it uniquely situated to lead in photonics manufacturing,” Luján said. “Already, New Mexico is contributing to developments in this important field that play an essential role in robotics, medical imaging, biometric security, and more. Further investments in these efforts will enhance our region’s and nation’s ability to maintain a competitive edge in such critical sectors.”
“There’s a lot of election-year debate about the role of the federal government in job creation,” Lujan Grisham said. “This type of federal investment in photonics technologies developed in New Mexico is a perfect example of the public-private partnerships we should be aggressively pursuing in order to move our economy forward.”
The Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute is expected to comprise the largest federal investment to date, reflecting the complexity of this technology, its importance to national security, and its revolutionary potential.
The Administration launched an initiative in 2013 to create a network of manufacturing innovation institutes across the country, which would serve as regional hubs to bridge the gap between applied research and product development. By bringing together companies, universities, and federal agencies, the nation can invest in the production of key technologies, such as advanced photonics, and encourage investment and production in the United States.
Udall and Lujan Grisham are cosponsors of the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act to establish a more extensive network of centers for manufacturing innovation. The legislation passed the House in September and is pending consideration by the Senate.