On the same exact day that Cody Wilson of defence Distributed got a notice from the State Department about ripping his 3D printing handgun schematics from the web, the U.S. Government launched a $200 million initiative, $30 million of which went to defence Department’s “additive manufacturing” pilot program.
Additive manufacturing is another way of saying 3D printing; and it’s unlikely the DoD is going to be printing off a bunch of tables and chairs.
They’re going to be printing weapons parts.
More specifically, the Department of defence envisions customising parts “on site” for operational systems that would otherwise be expensive to make or ship.
Building weapons on site gets rid of the expensive and time consuming paper trail and hassles of shipping overseas. The U.S., like Cody Wilson used to do, will likely just upload schematics to a secure website and bypass the middle man.
Where what Cody Wilson is doing is being explained as “illegal arms dealing,” what the US Government is doing is being defined as “streamlining.”
The new [manufacturing] centres announced by the White House today have much different goals than the one in Ohio, though. Two of them will fall under the control of the US defence Department. One of these centres will work on creating digital databases that can streamline the process of manufacturing “complex weapon systems” …
Interestingly, the State Department’s order against Wilson stated that he may be in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. Foreign Policy notes, “the release of blueprints qualifies as exporting, and his site may have released technical information that is controlled by International Traffic in Arms Regulations.”
The State Department is concerned with arms falling into the wrong hands. A defence Distributed type of company, in the State Department’s eyes, might set an ugly precedent for easy arms distribution.
Arms distribution that might compete with the U.S. Government’s extremely profitable arms dealing business.
A report out of Stockholm last year showed that the U.S. was not the only top dog in arms exports, but it also remained the one major exporter most likely to ship arms to “autocratic regimes.”
Regimes like Saudi Arabia — where women still can’t drive — recently received part of a $10 billion dollar arms deal (with Israel and the United Arab Emirates) from the United States. The Saudis not only arm militants in Syria, but they routinely send their American-equipped security forces over to Bahrain.
Bahrain — where the U.S. bases its 5th fleet, has received $299 million in American military aid — isn’t a shining beacon of human rights.
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