The U.S. Army Materiel Command’s (AMC's) mission is to develop and deliver materiel readiness solutions to ensure globally-dominant land force capabilities. This includes managing the global supply chain and synchronizing logistics and sustainment activities across the Army. To be successful, AMC not only has to focus on present challenges but anticipate future opportunities that will enable it to sustain Army readiness smarter, faster, safer and more cost-effectively.
One emerging technology that holds great promise for achieving these outcomes is Additive Manufacturing (AM), a fancy term for 3D printing technology. Imagine, for a moment, a BCT in the close fight has a Stryker go down for a support bracket. A replacement isn’t immediately available and it will take roughly two weeks to arrive via normal supply channels. But back in the support area, the maintenance shop has 3D printers working 24-hours a day. A Global Combat Support System–Army (GCSS-Army) clerk calls up the “data set” needed to replicate the part, enters it into the printer and, shazam, the part is produced and sped to the unit.
Like any emerging technology, however, AM needs to be studied, vetted and experimented with in order to determine how best to implement this capability. It’s not as if the Army can suddenly start 3D printing every repair or spare part it needs. AMC has already started all of these efforts and is, in fact, well along in its adoption of AM.
To capture the various studies, recommendations and the resulting data sets that will actually produce repair parts, AMC G-3 Supply Chain Management Directorate led an effort to establish what is termed the AM Digital Thread (AM DT). Effective Aug 30, 2021, the AM DT will become operational,
providing standard processes and means for submitting AM candidates, obtaining status concerning AM evaluations, submitting AM requests for technical data and accessing approved AM technical data for 3D printing parts.
The AM DT will be accessible to authorized users within the Army enterprise to include program and product managers; Combat Capabilities Development Command and subordinate engineering support activities; HQ AMC and its life-cycle management commands; organic industrial base (OIB) sites; and Soldiers in the field. Users have the ability to search for AM-approved materials and items, search and download approved 3D print files, request evaluations for new candidates, and request assistance with AM production methods.
The AM DT capability resides in the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) and can be directly accessed via the GCSS-Army portal. The AM DT is only accessible by authorized users who should coordinate with their local LMP user account manager, GCSS-Army access administrator or chain of command for access requirements and assistance.
Training courses for AM DT are already available in the Army Learning Management System (ALMS). It’s recommended you use the search term “AMDT” in ALMS to obtain a full listing of applicable courses. Once inside a course, users are encouraged to review all available materials, as some courses include job aids and other helpful documents. You can access ALMS training at:
For system or technical assistance, contact the following: