Seeking to bolster U.S. competitiveness in technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, 5G, and quantum computing, the Department of Commerce is assembling a special industrial advisory committee (IAC) to counsel the U.S. government on strategies for research, development, and manufacturing the microelectronic components that enable them.
The panel will have at least 12 members, including representatives from the semiconductor industry, federal laboratories, and academia who will advise Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The microelectronics industry plays a vital role in supplying components to the electronics industry and many other high-tech growth industries and technologies. The IAC will have a four-part mandate of advising Secretary Raimondo on the industry’s science and technology needs, analyzing the extent to which the United States is maintaining leadership in microelectronics manufacturing, assessing R&D programs, and identifying opportunities for new public-private partnerships.
“Microelectronics are enabling technologies for industries of the future, like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, 5G, and quantum computing,” said Raimondo. “With President Biden’s commitment to ensuring that the United States remains a global leader in microelectronics manufacturing and research, we are at a pivotal moment with the opportunity to bolster our economic strength, security and technological standing.”
The announcement of a special IAC for microelectronics earlier this month came after Raimondo took part in a roundtable discussion on the shortage of semiconductors, which has wreaked havoc on industries that rely on them.
“The United States was once a leader in the production of semiconductor chips, which power our smartphones, medical equipment, and automobiles. But today, we account for only 12 percent of global production and produce zero percent of the most advanced chips,” said Raimondo. “If we are serious about increasing American competitiveness, protecting our national security, and hitting President Biden’s electric vehicle goals, it is imperative that we reinvest in this critical industry and ensure that more chips are made here at home.”
The creation of the industrial advisory committee for microelectronics comes as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which directed Raimondo to establish the panel in consultation with the secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security.
Nominations for the committee will be accepted on an ongoing basis and will be considered as vacancies arise. Once appointed, members will serve three-year terms.