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Why Chip Production is a National Security Issue

Written by Rossella Muzzeddu

When we talk about “semiconductors,” we are talking about microchips. Microchips are in everything from cars to cell phones to missiles but having the fastest and most powerful microchips is essential to maintaining a military advantage (Zeiger, 2022). Nowadays the production of microchips grows exponentially and Moore, an electronics engineer who went on to run Intel predicted that the number of transistors on a silicon chip would double roughly every two years (Gianfagna, 2021). This projection is now known as Moore’s Law. Sixty years ago, four transistors could fit on a given chip, whereas today the number is closer to 11.8 billion (Heffernan, 2022).

However, this era is facing a chip shortage due to strong demand and no supply. This goes back to COVID-19 lockdowns in the second quarter of 2020, when demand for work-from-home technology increased exponentially and automakers found themselves competing for the semiconductor capacities located in Asian foundries (J. P. Morgan, 2022). Furthermore, on the 9th August, 2022 US President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (the “CHIPS Plus Act”) (H. R. 4346 The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022).