Marines across II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) are taking advantage of resources, training and equipment at a new facility in an effort to increase combat readiness.
This facility, called a makerspace, is like a 21st century hobby shop where Marines can learn about new technologies and design thinking in order to create in a collaborative environment.
“Your background does not limit you,” said Cpl. Wesley Sweeny, ground electronic maintenance Marine, 6th Marine Regiment. “It’s not a think tank. It’s a do tank.”
Sweeney received temporary assigned duty orders to work at the makerspace, which is managed by the 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
During one event at the makerspace, 20 Marines learned about its capabilities and what resources are available. They also received information on future workshops which will focus on subjects like design thinking and critical thinking skills.
“It’s important to have spaces like this to be thinking about how we can achieve superiority,” Sweeny said to a group of Marines during one such lunch and learn event. “Competition is really going to drive innovation.”
According to Sweeney, without an understanding of new technologies, programing or electrical theory, Marines will be at a disadvantage in the future fight due to new strategic plans with our near-peer competitors.
In addition to critical thinking workshops, the makerspace also provides equipment and supplies for prototypes. The Marines who work at the makerspace are capable of providing training on software development and additive manufacturing to Marines who have ideas which can impact their commands.
Commands from different units within II MEF are already using the makerspace’s resources to improve readiness. According to Sweeny, they were able to manufacture a tool which measures bulk liquids for 8th Engineer Support Battalion. The tool had been on order for more than 500 days, so Marines from 8th ESB came to the makerspace to see if they could make one. The Marines even managed to improve on the design by making it stronger and more compact.
While the makerspace is managed by 2nd Marine Logistics Group, the space is available for any Marine to use. They are located on the rear side of building FC 520 in French Creek.