Mike Griffin

WASHINGTON: DoD is opening a new manufacturing innovation center dedicated to biotechnology to figure out how to replicate “nature’s manufacturing plant” on an industrial scale, Pentagon research and engineering head Mike Griffin says.

This is “a key new initiative,” Griffin stressed.

The idea, he said at the annual McAleese conference, is “to learn how to do in an industrial way what nature has done for us in so many areas of things that we harvest and mine and use … now that we are beginning to learn how to manipulate genomes.”

Such technology could lead to DoD creating its own fuel using synthetic biology methods, for example. This would be a leap beyond ongoing efforts by DARPA that Sydney has widely reported, designed to protect soldiers against an enemy’s biotech weapons.

“This is a nascent technical area in the world, and especially in the United States,” Griffin told the audience here. “We want the national security community to be out in front on this.”

The new center will be the ninth so-called ManTech center, designed to help overcome the so-called ‘valley of death’ between research and commercialization by reducing risks.