The Obsolescence Problem
The strength of the United States Military depends upon a reliable technological superiority. Systems became more powerful and capable in order to meet the challenges over time. Our strategic advantage relies on dedicated, highly trained military personnel and the complex weapon systems they use. Microcircuits are the backbone to a modern military, providing our troops the edge over our adversaries.
When US defense requirements were the driving force in the electronics industry, these weapon systems were designed and manufactured using state-of-the-art microcircuits. These electronic microcircuits were made to a strict set of military specifications designed to last for decades. System lifetimes are often extended, and if a single microcircuit is no longer available, it can render a complete weapon system useless. As the consumer electronics industry has grown during the last quarter-century, the defense sector has been eclipsed and now is less than 1% of the semiconductor market.
Defense microcircuit demand is neither a priority nor profitable to the global electronics industry given the low-volume and high-reliability requirements. Defense systems suffer from microcircuit part obsolescence and counterfeits due to the long lifetime of military hardware, the increased pace of developments, and foreign manufacturing outsourcing. This puts these systems and the warfighter at significant risk.