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Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks' Remarks at the White House CHIPS-Plus Act Event (As Delivered)

Absolutely, Brian. So, Jim Taiclet did a great job, I think, laying out the dependency that we have on the defense side; that our military has on advanced microelectronics. 

Whether it’s the Javelins we saw down in Alabama, or the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that Lockheed Martin puts out, to our nuclear-weapons forces. 

And of course, as we look ahead to the future on emerging technologies- just as Jim said- quantum, A.I., hypersonics, 5G, 6G, next G – all of that is highly dependent on ensuring our access to microelectronics. 

We’re not the only ones focused on this challenge; of course, China is also focused on this challenge, and today approximately 98 percent of those commercial microelectronics that DoD is so dependent on are assembled, packaged, and tested in Asia. 

And as Jim said, we need to make sure both that we can ensure our access, and that we can have the most advanced capabilities that the commercial sector can offer. 

So, semiconductors -- it’s not overstatement to say -- are the ground zero of our tech competition with China. They are able to have heavy subsidies, they weaponized the financial incentives to facilitate their acquisition of intellectual property, they’re building indigenous microelectronics capabilities, and they’re doing everything it takes to become the center of gravity for semiconductor R&D and manufacturing.   

So for the U.S. military, as we look ahead to what we need to make sure our warfighters have what they need to succeed on the field, and that they can have security in using those capabilities, we know we must secure a supply chain and domestic investment here in the United States.  

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.  

It will help us build commercially-viable -- which is critical to us in DoD -- state-of-the-art fabrication facilities.  And that helps our commercial sector, of course, but I can’t stress enough how much that helps our military.  

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.  And it will assist us in retooling the community of small, medium, and large businesses that create our leading-edge weapons systems.

By creating opportunities to on-shore microelectronics fabrication, assembly, and testing, the CHIPS-Plus Act helps solve two important, critical, pressing microelectronics challenges facing our military.  

Both this issue of making sure we have assured access, and also making sure that we can have state-of-the-art technology to our warfighters.