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Bringing Together Industry Leaders to Enhance U.S. Microelectronics’ Supply Chain

March 10, 2021

Microelectronics, also referred to as semiconductors, are the key enabling technology for all electronic commercial and national security...

March 10, 2021

By Zachary J. Lemnios and Terry Halvorsen  

Microelectronics, also referred to as semiconductors, are the key enabling technology for all electronic commercial and national security systems. Options that secure and provide resiliency for semiconductor development, innovation, manufacturing and advanced packaging within the U.S. are essential to sustain U.S. innovation and help secure the U.S. government advanced semiconductor supply chain.

IBM has been leading the charge on domestic next-generation AI chips and systems innovation while working with industry leading companies from the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), Electronic Design Automation (EDA) suppliers, Non-Traditional Defense Contractor (NTDC) and academic partners. Our shared goal is to create a secure development capability for state-of-the-art (SOTA) microelectronics for specific use within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) programs. 

Addressing DoD’s critical nature and significant security demands requires a unique, comprehensive approach. With that premise in mind, an IBM-led ecosystem – which includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, Nimbis Services Inc., Marvell Government Solutions, Intrinsix, Cadence, Colvin Run Networks and PDF Solutions – has built a Marketplace for Advanced, Rapid, Quantifiably-assured, Trusted Semiconductors (MARQTS).

MARQTS leverages commercial innovation to develop and manufacture secure, SOTA commercial microelectronics for both U.S. government and commercial needs down to the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing performed globally today, at the dimension of five nanometers. The solution includes a new security scoring metric that provides a full spectrum of security requirements for each component and recommends techniques for enhancing security and improving the assurance score to help protect against evolving threats. 

The comprehensive MARQTS approach has been co-engineered and validated among DIB partners as well as with industry-leading suppliers as part of IBM’s recent involvement in a DoD-led initiative. Our design approach includes the ability to develop microelectronics for DoD programs across multiple foundries, deployed in a hybrid cloud environment, designed to be compatible with Government directed Foundry partners to address compliance with security requirements using a continuous-authority-to-operate approach.

In our view, securing the supply chain for SOTA microelectronics for use within DoD programs goes well beyond just moving these critical workloads to the cloud. Our goal is for the MARQTS solution to be operational in less than two years with an enterprise capability for the entire defense sector – in line with DoD’s stated need for rapid innovation.

For decades, IBM has been an industry leader of innovation in semiconductor technology, and we believe that commercial-led innovation in partnership with the U.S. government in this important area can have a long-lasting positive effect that can be replicated to other industries.

Zachary J. Lemnios
Vice President, IBM Research and Fmr.  Asst. Sec. of Defense


Terry Halvorsen
General Manager, Client Development Leader, IBM U.S. Public and Federal Market and Fmr. CIO, Dept. of Defense.


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