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Congressman Krishnamoorthi Questions The First Director of IARPA On The Importance Of Microelectronics Research His SEMI Act is Funding at IARPA

July 20, 2021
Press Release
Congressman Krishnamoorthi Is The Sponsor Of The SEMI Act, Signed into Law in 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) participated in a House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence hearing labeled “Microelectronics: Levers for Promoting Security and Innovation.” During this hearing, Congressman Krishnamoorthi questioned Dr. Lisa Porter, the first Director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and current Co-President of LogiQ, on how IARPA can advance microelectronics research. As a sponsor of the bipartisan H.R. 8763 – the Seeding Enterprises in the Microelectronics Industry (SEMI) Act, alongside Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), which was included in the FY21 Intelligence Authorization Act, Congressman Krishnamoorthi has been a leader in the growth of domestic microelectronics research. In May, IARPA launched the $15 million grant program authorized by the SEMI Act to solicit research proposals. In response, Dr. Porter noted that IARPA helps us achieve “high risk, high pay-off research.”

“The prominence of U.S. technology and leadership in the intelligence community and in the area of microelectronics must be increased and maintained,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said. “During our Intelligence Committee hearing today, we solidified our understanding of the importance of programs like IARPA, which my SEMI Act supported in the form of grant funds for their research capabilities. In order to maintain competitiveness with the Chinese government, we need to support IARPA and expand U.S. computing power in the 21st century.”

Congressman Krishnamoorthi also asked Dr. Porter and David Isaacs, Vice President of Government Affairs with the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), how reliant the U.S. and China are on Taiwan and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for its ability to make semiconductor chips. Both witnesses testified that the U.S. is dependent on Taiwan for the semiconductor industry. Mr. Isaacs noted to Congressman Krishnamoorthi that “[TSMC] is a leading company for our industry and the world is dependent on them in many respects…the concentration in a single geography of that capability is troubling from a geopolitical perspective, natural disaster, power outage, you name it.”

Watch Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s question line at the hearing here.