Pentagon, With an Eye on China, Pushes for Help from American Tech

Talks over how U.S. companies can ensure future supplies of advanced computer chips have taken on more urgency.

Pentagon officials have been holding private discussions with tech industry executives to wrestle with a key question: how to ensure future supplies of the advanced computer chips needed to retain America’s military edge. Read the article in the NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/25/technology/pentagon-taiwan-tsmc-chipmaker.html.

The Pentagon increasingly depends on chips made abroad, especially by companies like the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

In another sign of action, Skywater Technology, a Minnesota chip manufacturing service, said this week that the Defense Department would invest up to $170 million to increase its production and enhance technologies, such as the ability to produce chips that can withstand radiation in space.

The Skywater investment illustrates how the Pentagon is also wrestling with how to upgrade aging technology at domestic companies that make small volumes of classified chips tailored for the military. Such “trusted” factories, as they are called, operate under Pentagon rules aimed at preventing sabotage or data theft.

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