By U.S. Representative Kay Granger
August 11, 2020 12:00PM CST
I recently saw a national poll testing, in part, Americans’ concerns about topics such as violent crime, public education, our food shortage, loss of a space program, and one that really caught my eye—our distrust and concern about China.
Over the past century, America has been the undisputed global leader in the fields of science and engineering. Unfortunately, China is now threatening America’s dominance in scientific research and development due to their direct government investment and years of strategic planning.
China’s advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and 5G technology, coupled with their incredible manufacturing capacity, have restructured the global economy. Meanwhile, manufacturing has left the U.S. at an alarming rate as we have failed to properly educate future generations to be ready for the new world’s global economy.
If we, as a nation, fail to act now to reverse the tide and restore American dominance in these critical fields, China will surpass us in many sectors of the economy. That is why Congress is taking action to restore American leadership in critical areas.
One area of particular concern and interest to me is semiconductor development and manufacturing.
As the former chairwoman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I know firsthand how our national security depends on access to advanced and secure semiconductors. These materials, which are essentially the brains of electronics, are used in almost all defense systems, weapons, and telecommunication devices. Unfortunately, they are also extremely expensive and very difficult to produce.
Our nation is too dependent on foreign countries, including China, for this technology. If we take no action, China will use these new capabilities and apply them to all areas including military and economic. This could pose any number of challenges from GPS interference to insecure communications for our national security systems.
That is why I recently co-sponsored the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, which is led by my fellow Texan and good friend, House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul.
The CHIPS for America Act aims to restore American leadership in semiconductor manufacturing by increasing federal incentives to enable advanced research and development, secure the supply chain, and ensure long-term national security and economic competitiveness.
Additionally, many federal agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, State, and Defense, are actively working with companies - both in America and in allied countries - on ways to bring more semiconductor manufacturing to the United States. One example of these efforts is the announcement earlier this year that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is considering building a large facility in Arizona.
To retain our edge on China, we must continue to support America’s technology industrial base. If we are forced to rely on our adversaries for critical equipment, it will pose an unnecessary national security risk. My colleagues and I will remain focused on these issues to protect America’s place in the world.