The U.S. Department of Defense today made an $8 million award to GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF) as part of the nation's effort to ensure the U.S. sustains the microelectronics manufacturing capability.
GF will conduct initial engineering baseline activities to move a key 45 nanometer (nm) semiconductor manufacturing processes from the East Fishkill, New York facility to the Malta, New York facility. This effort is the first step required to preserve the availability of the process for future use by DoD programs, as the process is slated to be discontinued upon the sale of the East Fish Kill facility.
This will also serve as a precursor to major efforts contemplated by the recently passed CHIPS for America Act, championed by Senator Charles Schumer, which will allow for the sustainment and on-shoring of U.S. microelectronics capability.
This $8 million award is the latest collaboration in the longstanding partnership between the DoD and GF to provide semiconductors for defense, aerospace, and other sensitive applications.
The Pentagon feels that China poses a major threat to the microelectronics supply chain, critical for a wide range of U.S. military systems. Around 50% of the microelectronics products that the Pentagon buys come from China. It raises the risk that a potentially hostile power could tamper with them, or even cut off the supply.
On March 1, the U.S. National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), led by former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, recommended clamping down on China's ability to procure the manufacturing equipment needed to make advanced computing chips. "China is making an aggressive push to promote authoritarianism around the world," an NSCAI official told Reuters. "It boils down to semiconductors."