DOD Names 8 Locations to Serve as New ‘Microelectronics Commons’ Hubs
Boosting Domestic Microelectronics Manufacturing
The Defense Department has awarded nearly $240 million dollars to eight regional “innovation hubs” around the United States. These hubs, known as the Microelectronics Commons, aim to spur the development of a domestic microelectronics manufacturing industry. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between research and development and production, an area where the United States has lagged behind. The funding provided by the CHIPS and Science Act is meant to supercharge the ability to prototype, manufacture, and produce microelectronics at scale.
Addressing the Microelectronics Gap
Currently, the United States is responsible for only about 12% of microelectronics production globally, with most production occurring in Asia. This lack of domestic capacity hinders the ability to confirm the viability and marketability of new microelectronics technologies. The Microelectronics Commons initiative aims to address this gap by bringing together industry experts and researchers to accelerate the development and deployment of cutting-edge microchips. By focusing on areas such as electromagnetic warfare, secure computing, artificial intelligence hardware, wireless technology, and quantum technology, the hubs aim to ensure that the most advanced microchips are integrated into critical defense systems used by the military.
Regional Hubs and Their Focus Areas
The eight regional hubs, led by various institutions across the United States, will play a crucial role in advancing microelectronics development. Each hub will focus on specific areas of expertise, including electromagnetic warfare, secure computing at the tactical edge, artificial intelligence hardware, wireless technology, and quantum technology. These hubs will serve as collaborative spaces where industry, academia, and government can work together to accelerate the ‘lab-to-fab’ transition and drive innovation in microelectronics manufacturing. With the support of the Defense Department, these hubs aim to position the United States as a leader in microelectronics production and strengthen national security.