On February 28, Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen asked BIS Under Secretary Alan Estevez, “How many PRC chips are you comfortable having in DoD systems and critical infrastructure?”
In response, Mr. Estevez said that BIS focused only on high-tech chips, basically conceding that the U.S. government intends to do nothing to curtail the Chinese legacy chip sector. That means U.S. military systems may continue to rely on semiconductors from Chinese companies. (Learn more at EveryChipMatters.com.)
This is a very big problem.
Next week CTT will publish No Weak Links: A Strategy for Keeping U.S. Supply Chains Clean of Dangerous Chinese Technologies, a new white paper written in consultation with CTT Special Advisor Nazak Nikakhtar. From 2018 to 2021, Ms. Nikakhtar served as the Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at the International Trade Administration and also fulfilled the duties of the Under Secretary for BIS (currently held by Mr. Estevez).
This vulnerability is potentially catastrophic for U.S. warfighters. Since it is technologically conceivable that the Chinese government could tamper with U.S. systems, then it follows that prominent weapons could be disabled. (The recent popular novel, 2034, coauthored by Retired Admiral James Stavridis, is premised on this concept.)
The U.S. government needs to know exactly which components are in its systems. Unfortunately, right now the U.S. government – and our prime contractors – simply do not know if military systems, communications networks, and other strategic technology contains chips from suspect suppliers.
To begin to tackle the problem, we offer a three-part solution for information gathering and reporting through Defense Production Act Surveys. We also consider the lithium-ion battery as a process example.
Enjoy your Memorial Day and check back next week to read: No Weak Links: A Strategy for Keeping U.S. Supply Chains Clean of Dangerous Chinese Technologies.
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