DOD expanding effort to boost its domestic supply of chemicals for munitions

The Pentagon extended a contract with the American Center for Manufacturing Innovation.
(ACMI image)

Looking to further develop and fortify the U.S. supply chain of critical chemicals for munitions and energetics applications, the Pentagon awarded the American Center for Manufacturing Innovation (ACMI) a $15 million contract extension to expand a first-of-its-kind pilot program

The Department of Defense tapped ACMI’s federal unit in Aug. 2022 for a pilot that ultimately aimed to explore innovative approaches for leveraging private capital and government funding to make inert chemicals for energetics that can be used by the military in munitions — and also by the commercial sector in agriculture products.

According to a statement shared with DefenseScoop on Wednesday, ACMI Federal received a new task order via the DOD Information Analysis Center’s multiple-award contract vehicle to “significantly expand the scope of the pilot program over the next two years.”

“As part of the pilot extension, ACMI will not only expand the list of chemicals under study but also bring in new academic and commercial partners. $10 million of the investment will be focused directly on the target chemicals, including modernization of batch processes, continuous flow chemistry, sustainable materials and processes, and other innovations. The remaining $5 million will support munitions technology tooling and innovation, including hardware and production machinery modernization and support for manufacturing scale-up,” the organization said.


During the first phase of the pursuit, those involved produced and validated three approaches for domestically manufacturing several critical chemicals. According to officials, they included:

  • Demand Aggregation — working with a commercial chemical company to adapt their chemical engineering approach to produce a critical precursor of an energetic material not available domestically in nearly two decades.
  • Commercial Market Adaptation — supporting the certification of a lower-cost, commercially-available material for use in place of an existing, domestically unavailable, and more exacting military specification.
  • Process Innovation — developing a modern, efficient continuous flow chemistry process with less waste products to enable future domestic production for multiple critical chemicals.

Immediate next steps for the team will involve pinpointing and securing new partners and funders — and working with the Pentagon to finalize the list of additional chemicals that will be included in this next iteration.

“For the first phase of the Critical Chemical Pilot Program, ACMI’s goal was to achieve a 10-to-1 ratio of private to public investment. In the first year of the program, ACMI exceeded this goal, achieving a 16-to-1 private to public funding ratio. Full-scale operations could achieve a ratio as high as 25-to-1, amplifying the DOD’s investment and providing a maximum return on investment for the U.S. taxpayer,” per the statement.

The organization declined to identify the chemicals that have been prioritized for production so far.

Brandi Vincent

Written by Brandi Vincent

Brandi Vincent is DefenseScoop's Pentagon correspondent. She reports on emerging and disruptive technologies, and associated policies, impacting the Defense Department and its personnel. Prior to joining Scoop News Group, Brandi produced a long-form documentary and worked as a journalist at Nextgov, Snapchat and NBC Network. She was named a 2021 Paul Miller Washington Fellow by the National Press Foundation and was awarded SIIA’s 2020 Jesse H. Neal Award for Best News Coverage. Brandi grew up in Louisiana and received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Latest Podcasts