3D Printing Firm Divergent Appoints Former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Board

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Divergent Technologies, creator of the Divergent Adaptive Production System (DAPS) and parent company of 3D printed supercar maker Czinger Vehicles, announced that it has appointed General Peter Pace, retired chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), to its board of directors. Pace was appointed as the 16th chairman of the JCS by George W. Bush, and served in that capacity between 2005 and 2007.

In its most recent announcements, Divergent has deliberately signaled the company’s accelerating expansion into the defense market. Namely, last month, Divergent touted its partnership with nuclear firm/defense contractor General Atomics, through which DAPS is being used to print entire drone fuselages. (Last week, at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference, that partnership was the subject of a presentation delivered by representatives from both companies.)

Divergent’s Blade supercar chassis. Image courtesy of Divergent

In a press release about the appointment of retired chairman of the JCS, Peter Pace, to Divergent’s board of directors, General Pace commented, “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Divergent team. I am genuinely impressed with their innovation in applying speed, precision, and adaptability to the industrial manufacturing process, and I look forward to helping them further develop state of the art solutions designed to benefit both our national security and domestic requirements.”

John Thornton, the lead independent director of both Divergent and Ford Motor Company, said, “General Pace’s extraordinary military experience and leadership skills will play a critical role as Divergent leads a permanent transformation in manufacturing across the automotive, defense and aerospace sectors.”

General Peter Pace. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

For anyone who still doesn’t think that the next decade of the future of AM lies in public spending in general, and military spending in particular, this development needs to serve as a reality check. Certainly, the US government has for years already been the largest single spender in the American AM market. However, the scale of spending has still, thus far, largely stayed within what can be thought of as an “R&D range.”

When it comes to AM, the US military is only just now entering a range of spending characterized by regular yearly procurement schedules. Without getting into any exact numbers, just going off of the sheer number and monetary scale of projects announced so far this year: the difference between the new range of spending and the previous range of spending is going to be bigger than the difference between that previous, R&D range, and the pre-2012 years, when the military spent barely anything on AM, at all.

Especially against the geopolitical backdrop of increased advanced manufacturing flexing between the American and Chinese governments, the appointment of a former JCS chairman to the board of an advanced manufacturing company is a move deliberately conceived to make a statement. It also suddenly elevates Divergent to the highest echelon of AM companies that are plugged into the government procurement pipeline. Along those same lines, given the complexities and concerns over domestic manufacturing requirements for the EV tax credit law, I wouldn’t be surprised if, soon enough, Divergent is printing EV batteries for Detroit.

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