Pentagon Releases First-Ever U.S. National Defense Industrial Strategy

by Richard Cappetto, senior director, North American government relations

This afternoon the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) released a long anticipated National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS). This is the first such formal strategy ever published by the DOD, detailing a vision that will guide future engagement, policy development, and investments in the industrial base over the next five years. The strategy is built around the “four pillars” of Resilient Supply Chains, Workforce Readiness, Flexible Acquisition, and Economic Deterrence.

IPC is encouraged to see that the NDIS highlights several key priorities which we have been urging in recent years on behalf of the electronics industry. For example, the first pillar of the strategy sets forth eight actions to build resilient supply chains, including “continue and expand support for domestic production.” IPC believes all nations must ensure trusted, secure supply chains for essential electronics products.

The second pillar of the strategy correctly identifies building a skilled workforce as a priority for a strong industrial base. The need is heightened because of the national goals set out in the CHIPS and Science Act, which has spillover effects on electronics manufacturing. Consistent with IPC’s policy agenda, the strategy calls for investments in upskilling and reskilling programs, better workforce pipelines into advanced manufacturing, and expansions of apprenticeship programs.  

The strategy does not offer any sector-specific recommendations, but in a presentation today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Industrial Base Policy Dr. Laura D. Taylor-Kale promised there will be follow-on implementation documents over the next few months.  

Taylor-Kale also made clear how important it was for DOD to hear from industry. The four strategic priorities were developed by asking, “What is it that we have heard from industry, as well as seen ourselves through our data, through our research, and through constant conversation and dialogue with industry and with our stakeholders both domestically and international?”

IPC will continue to make the case for the U.S. government to take a “silicon to systems” approach to building up the electronics supply chain and the workforce. A healthy electronics ecosystem includes advanced packaging, IC substrates, printed circuit boards (PCBs), and electronics assembly. Assistant Secretary Taylor-Kale in her remarks today acknowledged “the need for the department to incentivize industry, and to send demand signals.” IPC agrees, and that is exactly what we’ve been communicating to Members of Congress and the Executive Branch.   

It will take persistent advocacy to break through and succeed over time. IPC has been bringing the message to policy makers for years, and we will continue to do so as the focus turns more in our direction. In the words of Assistant Secretary Taylor-Kale, “We can’t afford to wait. We have seen over the last few years the importance of why we need resilient supply chains ... The importance not just to us domestically, but also for our close allies and partners. We think the time for action is now.”