NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI NEWPORT United States
Microelectronics have become ubiquitous in our everyday personal and professional lives. They are the subcomponents in the supply chain embedded in every piece of electronic technology we rely on from the smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer to the MRI equipment, pacemaker, bank ATM, and any vehicle on the market today. They are also the components DOD and all national security organizations rely on for GPS, weapon systems, communications equipment, and every vehicle in the inventory. While these microelectronics support technology that our lives, professions, and U.S. national security depend upon, they also actually create a tremendous risk. Extensive competition in the industry and incredible up-front investment costs have forced many companies out of business and the majority of manufacturing of microelectronics overseas. International competitors like China have committed to making large-scale investments with a goal of dominating the market. This presents a threat to DOD and all sectors of the economy that need to be concerned about the security of their equipment and data. The enormous challenge is presented in this paper as a set of nested challenges within DOD, within the U.S. Government, and throughout the national economy. In the same respect, recommendations are made to address the challenge at each of those levels, creating an a la carte menu of options that taken together represent a holistic approach to what is both a national security and economic problem.