The Department of Defense (DoD) and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recently released details on the Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute (RFT-MII). A consortium of 89 universities, manufacturers and non-profits organized by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and known as the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Alliance was chosen to partner with the DoD on the institute. The agreement will be managed by the U.S. Army Contracting Command — New Jersey Emerging Technologies contracting center. The DoD contributed $75 million to the project, and almost $250 million was raised through cost-sharing and non-federal investments, bringing the total investment for the RFT-MII to more than $317 million.
By partnering academia with private sector companies, AFFOA aims to accelerate widespread commercialization of highly functional fabrics to ensure the United States stays competitive in manufacturing. The RFT-MII is the sixth manufacturing hub to be awarded by the Obama administration through the DoD.
Companies involved in the consortium include Bose, Intel, FibeRio, Warwick Mills, Buhler Yarns and New Balance.