With only 12 percent of global semiconductor manufacturing occurring in the United States, the Department of Defense wants to make securing the semiconductor supply a big priority. Almost every aspect of the nation’s defense resources depend on semiconductors to operate computer systems. China already produces 15 percent of the world’s semiconductors and has openly declared an intention of dominating the market by 2030. The bulk of semiconductors come from Taiwan and South Korea, which means that the United States relies heavily on East Asian sources for the chips vital to all modern civilian and defense equipment.
U.S. Proposes $37 Billion Investment
President Biden recently spoke in support of improving domestic semiconductor production. U.S. automakers have had to halt production of some vehicles due to a shortage of semiconductors. This situation has prompted the National Security Council to frame offshore semiconductor production as a national security threat. Congress is currently discussing a proposal that would invest $37 billion in domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
Such funding, if it materializes, could prove politically popular. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, a federal investment of $20 billion to $50 billion could promote as many as 70,000 new and well-paid jobs throughout the country.
DARPA Already Acting To Secure Semiconductors
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a new program a year ago to address semiconductor security and manufacturing issues. The Structured Array Hardware for Automatically Realized Applications (SAHARA) program is working with Intel and various universities to expand domestic supply. Additionally, SAHARA has the task of developing protocols to ensure the security of semiconductors coming from foreign sources.
Do you agree that the United States needs domestic semiconductor manufacturing for long-term military security?
ABOUT The Department of Defense
The Department of Defense is America’s largest government agency. With our military tracing its roots back to pre-Revolutionary times, the department has grown and evolved with our nation. Our mission is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security.
The Defense Department has 11 combatant commands, each with a geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces in peace and war. The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard are the armed forces of the United States. The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are reserve components of their services and operate in part under state authority.
ABOUT The National Security Council
The National Security Council is the President’s principal forum for national security and foreign policy decision-making with his or her senior national security advisors and cabinet officials, and the President’s principal arm for coordinating these policies across federal agencies.
Today’s challenges demand a new and broader understanding of national security–one that facilitates coordination between domestic and foreign policy as well as among traditional national security, economic security, health security, and environmental security
The National Security Council was established by the National Security Act of 1947 (PL 235 – 61 Stat. 496; U.S.C. 402), amended by the National Security Act Amendments of 1949 (63 Stat. 579; 50 U.S.C. 401 et seq.). Later in 1949, as part of the Reorganization Plan, the Council was placed in the Executive Office of the President.
ABOUT Semiconductor Industry Association
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) advances policies that help the industry grow and unites semiconductor companies around common challenges.
SIA seeks to strengthen U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research by working with Congress, the Administration, and key industry stakeholders to encourage policies and regulations that fuel innovation, propel business, and drive international competition.
SIA advocates and organizes industry action on:
- Defining strategies to promote and maintain world leadership in technology for our members
- Advocating for public policies that provide a fair field for competition
- Promoting fair and open trade
- Tracking and distributing statistical information of market trends
For sixty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.
The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that, from that time forward, it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also such icons of modern civilian society such as the Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and Global Positioning System receivers small enough to embed in myriad consumer devices
DARPA today announced the Structured Array Hardware for Automatically Realized Applications (SAHARA) program, which aims to expand access to domestic manufacturing capabilities to tackle challenges hampering the secure development of custom chips for defense systems. Working in partnership with Intel and academic researchers from University of Florida, University of Maryland, and Texas A&M, SAHARA will leverage leading-edge, U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities to enable the automated and scalable conversion of defense-relevant field-programmable gate array (FPGAs) designs into quantifiably secure Structured ASICs. The program will also explore novel chip protections to support the manufacturing of silicon in zero-trust environments.
SAHARA is a critical program supporting the Department of Defense (DoD) microelectronics Roadmap led by the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering – USD(R&E) – to define, quantify, and standardize security while strengthening domestic semiconductor manufacturing. The Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes-Commercial (RAMP-C) and State-of-the-Art Heterogeneous Integration Prototype (SHIP) projects are also integral to the DoD Roadmap.