Americans Embrace the Importance of Semiconductors to National Security
Wednesday, Jul 07, 2021, 8:00am
by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs
As Congress considers legislation that would fund domestic semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research initiatives, a new poll finds a strong majority of Americans understand the critical role semiconductors play in advancing U.S. national security. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say having a strong semiconductor manufacturing base is either “very important” (45%) or “somewhat important” (21%) to national security, according the latest IBD/TIPP poll of U.S. adults.
As the brains of modern technology, semiconductors are essential to America’s national security, enabling the U.S. to field advanced defense systems and protect its critical infrastructure. For this reason, many of America’s most experienced and respected leaders on national security issues wrote to President Biden in April in support of funding the semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research initiatives authorized by the CHIPS for America Act.
“Our future national security posture is completely linked to maintaining strong research, development, and manufacturing capabilities,” the defense leaders wrote. “Who leads in future technology developments, standards, and the means of secure production and supply will be the true decider of the type of world we build with our allies and partners. The strategic funding plan put forward today will create a great economic return and improved resilience for generations.”
The Senate on June 8 passed legislation called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) (S.1260) by a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32. USICA includes $52 billion to fund the semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research provisions in the CHIPS for America Act.
Leaders in Washington have taken notice of potential vulnerabilities in the global semiconductor supply chain and the need to address these vulnerabilities by investing in domestic chip production. The White House in June released a report on strengthening the supply chains of critical products, including semiconductors. An April 2021 study on this topic by SIA and the Boston Consulting Group found there are more than 50 points across the semiconductor supply chain where one region holds more than 65% of the global market share. About 75% of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity, for example, is concentrated in China and East Asia, a region significantly exposed to high seismic activity and geopolitical tensions. In addition, 100% of the world’s most advanced semiconductor manufacturing capacity (below 10 nanometers) is currently located in Taiwan (92%) and South Korea (8%). These advanced chips are essential to America’s national security, as well as its economy and critical infrastructure.
The American people and top U.S. national security experts agree that to keep our country strong and secure, we must have more robust chip manufacturing in the U.S. SIA looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to fund critical chip manufacturing, research, and design initiatives to promote U.S. national security and economic growth.