Director of DOD Microelectronics talks about accelerating innovation in microelectronics to unlock the technology it needs to win

The United States is in the midst of a microelectronics dilemma. Demand for semiconductor chips rose sharply, but supply chain problems led to a drastic drop in chip production, causing a problem with US national security

“Semiconductors are essential to national security,” according to the White House supply chain report. These chips are at the heart of almost every technological advancement that the United States pursues today. Everything, including military systems, modern weapons, hypersound, directional energy, communications, autonomous systems, AI, 5G and many others, depends on semiconductor technology.

In accordance with the Interim Strategic Guidelines on National Security, Dr. Devanand ShenoyDirector General of Microelectronics in the Office of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Deputy Minister of Defense for Research and Engineering, said: “Semiconductors are key to technologies that need to benefit the future.

In the last few years, however, the global supply chain has suffered a devastating blow. In February 2021, the execution time – or the length of time between ordering a semiconductor chip and executing the order – reached a record 15 weeks, and sources of production continued to decline.

The federal government is now focusing heavily on increasing its domestic semiconductor production capacity, developing a stable workforce and accelerating innovation pipelines to avoid being overtaken by adversaries.

During Microelectronics ForumHost of ExecutiveBiz Events, Dr Shenoy said we need to increase the discoveries and innovations of microelectronic technology while providing a supply chain if we are to meet the urgent needs of national security today and prepare for those of the future.

“We want to provide multi-vendor-supplied critical microelectronics pipelines in several generations of technology in a shrinking global supply chain,” said Dr Shenoy, stressing the importance of industrial partnerships and increased production capacity.

Today, DOD is working hard to secure this pipeline. The cross-functional team of defense microelectronics, led by Dr. Shenoy, was created to ensure greater cohesion and unity of DOD’s countless efforts in microelectronics.

The CFT, Dr. Shenoy explained, aims to “ensure the organization of the front door to increase the decentralized implementation that currently exists in many agencies, offices and organizations when it comes to microelectronics.”

The Ministry of Defense is also taking seriously its long-standing challenges to the visibility of the supply chain in its efforts to accelerate innovation in microelectronics.

“For many years, the department has been trying to develop tools and capabilities to have visibility in the supply chain from the highest levels to the sub-chain of the supply chain,” he said. “Until there is greater visibility, it will be difficult to identify certain threats, vulnerabilities and risks in the supply chain.

DOD is developing a tool called AMARO, or automated microelectronic analysis and reporting optimization, to alleviate some of these visibility problems and provide a better picture of the supply chain.

Dr Shenoy said AMARO could “map the life cycle of microelectronics across the supply chain and identify potential threats and vulnerabilities and assess them in a list of materials”. But applications of tools such as AMARO extend even beyond the past of microelectronics and could be used in the future to model and predict important results for the wider needs of DOD.

These tools can help senior decision-makers answer strategic questions such as, “What is the impact on DOD if country X invades State Y?” And “What if there is a natural disaster?” You know, “Well. if a particular supplier in the supply chain cannot supply critical parts to this ecosystem? ”explained Dr. Shenoy.

The ability to answer these questions more quickly is crucial to ensuring supply chains in many different sectors, he added.

The Microelectronics Forum is part of the ExecutiveBiz Events series, focused on DOD’s list of critical and emerging technologies. Join us on July 12 for our next event in the series, the Hypersonic forum.

Michael White, chief hypersonic director for OUSD R&E, is scheduled to speak. Register here.

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