The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) applauded Friday’s Department of Defense announcement that Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) was selected to lead the Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute (RFT-MII).
The RFT-MII is a collaborative effort between government and the private sector to accelerate the development of the next generation of highly functional textiles from both a commercial and military perspective. Total funding is expected to be more than $317 million.
“Textile and fiber science are not the only beneficiaries from RFT-MII,” says Bret Kelley, chair of the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute, a division of IFAI. “Our servicemen and women and future generations will also benefit through advancements in technology and job creation driven by innovation from this investment. It is important that we do everything we can to lead innovation in this field which provides support for nearly 600,000 American families, and we are happy to support the effort.”
The Department of Defense (DoD) has committed $75 million to the project, a figure matched by almost $250 million in money and other in-kind contributions from the U.S. textile industry and other sources. American domestic industry supplies more than 8,000 different textile products to American servicemen and women around the world.
President Obama announced the formation of the RFT-MII on March 18, 2015 as part of his National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) initiative. The NNMI brings together industry, academia and federal partners to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, by promoting a robust and sustainable manufacturing research and development infrastructure.