Chip gap: US plans manufacturing clusters to bolster security

Article by Kerry Hebden

Country has long way to go to fill production gap; calls for UK to step up

THE US is planning to create at least two manufacturing clusters for leading-edge semiconductors by 2030 with the aid of funds from the US$52.7bn Chips Act. The act, described as a “national security initiative”, was set up by the Biden administration to lure chip manufacturing back to the US, and to end reliance on Asia.

The fund includes US$39bn in incentives to help build and expand manufacturing facilities and an US$11bn programme that seeks to partner with industry to advance semiconductor manufacturing research and workforce development. Another US$2bn will be funnelled into the “Microelectronics Commons” – a scheme aimed at speeding up laboratory technical advances into military and other applications.

“Every single piece of sophisticated military equipment, every drone, every satellite, relies on semiconductor chips,” commerce secretary Gina Raimondo told the Wall Street Journal. Considering that the US buys more than 90% of its advanced chips from Taiwan, it’s “a national security vulnerability that is untenable,” she added. 

This article is adapted from an earlier online version.

Article by Kerry Hebden

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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