President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting on Monday with Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet and other corporate executives to call for the passage of a bill that seeks to increase semiconductor production in the U.S., Defense News reported Monday.
“The CHIPS-Plus Act will help us substantially return leading-edge microelectronics to the United States; deliver a winning combination of design, system integration, and manufacturing,” Hicks, a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, said at the meeting.
She noted that semiconductors have become the “ground zero” of the U.S. tech competition with China and that about 98 percent of commercial electronics the Department of Defense uses are manufactured, tested and packaged in Asia.
“The resources provided for the ‘CHIPS for America Defense Fund’ inside the CHIPS-Plus Act funds innovative prototyping; experimentation; it allows us to train the next generation of scientists, engineers, and tech entrepreneurs,” Hicks said.
The Senate has yet to vote on the legislation, which would subsidize chip makers for building and expanding manufacturing plants in the country through tax breaks and grants, according to the report.
Taiclet, a 2022 Wash100 awardee, said continued chip supplies are critical to national security and to the defense industrial base’s health in the aerospace sector.
“We’ve got a lot of emphasis and importance on those latest-technology chips because they are the building blocks of those defense systems of the future,” Taiclet said.
According to the report, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, labor leaders and CEOs of Cummins and Medtronic participated in the meeting.