Defense: CHIPS Act Advances DOD’s Emphasis on Microelectronics

Washington, August 11, 2022.- In February, Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, spelled out 14 technology areas of critical importance to the Defense Department. Among those are biotechnology, renewable energy generation and storage, and directed energy. But the $54.2 billion CHIPS Act, signed yesterday, advances another of those top priorities for the department: microelectronics.

«Let me take a moment and share with you what a banner day yesterday was the signing of the CHIPS Act — revitalizing the domestic capabilities for microelectronics,» Barbara McQuiston, deputy chief technology officer of science and technology, said during a virtual discussion today at Federal Computer Week’s Emerging Technology Workshop.

The CHIPS Act, she said, provides both investment and incentive funding to build semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and to advance research and development activities at both the national and regional levels.

In addition, the law includes large investment in a national research and development center, an advanced packaging manufacturing program, and up to three manufacturing institutes in the U.S. for semiconductor-related manufacturing, McQuiston said.

«The legislation also provides $2 billion over five years for microelectronics, which envisions a national network of onshore prototyping, lab-to-fab transition in semiconductor technologies, including the Department of Defense-unique applications, and semiconductor workforce training,» she said. «I think this is incredibly important for emergent technology, because as we have new ideas — new technologies coming forward — they can be rapidly prototyped and tested and put forward for accelerating technology into the marketplace and into the industrial base.»

McQuiston said investment in all 14 technology areas is vital to maintain U.S. national security.

«As we work on our own science and technology portfolio, we strategize on these investments as our allies and we work together along with industry and domestic partners to prioritize investments in these emerging areas,» she said.

The 11 other critical technology areas outlined by Shyu include quantum science; future-generation wireless technology; advanced materials; trusted artificial intelligence and autonomy; integrated network systems-of-systems; microelectronics; space technology; advanced computing and software; human-machine interfaces; hypersonics; and integrated sensing and cyber.

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