Cybersecurity and semiconductors initial focus for CHIPS Act projectsNews
March 15, 2023
WASHINGTON. The U.S. State Department outlined its strategy for implementing the International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund (ITSI Fund) appropriated under the CHIPS Act of 2022, detailing its two-part strategy: The first relating to semiconductors, the second one dealing with cybersecurity and overall safety of information technology and communication networks and services.
During the March 14, 2023, briefing, Ramin Toloui, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, laid out the government's strategy for work to be done under the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.
Under the umbrella of the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership, the State Dept. will have $40.7 million in Fiscal Year 2023 ITSI funding to support the following efforts: Developing enabling environments for secure ICT ecosystems, deploying secure ICT infrastructure, and defending against malicious cyberactivity.
Additionally, in order to ensure a more diverse, resilient, and secure global semiconductor supply chain, ITSI funding will support the following security efforts:
- Securing critical material inputs: Semiconductor fabricators require access to critical minerals such as aluminum, arsenic, cobalt, copper, and rare-earth elements. Several nations around the world have relevant mineral resources, and the Department will lead an effort to bring new, more diverse and resilient mining, refining/processing, and recycling capacity online to support global chip production, including in the U.S.
- Strengthening international policy coordination: In conjunction with the Department of Commerce, the State Department will coordinate with partner economies to support a more resilient and diverse semiconductor supply chain. These activities include developing common or complementary approaches to industry incentives, as well as improving coordination during supply disruptions.
- Expanding and diversifying downstream capacity in the Indo-Pacific and Americas: The ITSI funding will be deployed to promote the expansion of the international assembly, testing, and packaging capacity needed to diversify the global semiconductor supply chain. The U.S. will engage with like-minded partners to identify key regulatory and policy levers to attract semiconductor supply-chain investments, identify workforce and infrastructure development needs, and engage in targeted capacity-building to help fill those gaps. This will also include ensuring countries have the necessary measures in place to safeguard leading-edge chips and technology from diversion and misuse.
- Protecting national security: Some uses of advanced semiconductors can pose national security risks. The mechanisms to mitigate those risks – including collaboration with international partners on export controls and licensing policies – require strengthening. The Department will facilitate the development and close coordination of such policies and practices with supply-chain allies and partners.