Vigilant Americans watch in horror as the United States continues down a path toward dependence on foreign manufacturing. Of particular concern is our reliance on foreign production of emerging technologies like microchips. Big companies like Microsoft and Google continue to outsource production to our biggest adversaries.
The words “Made in America” may inspire certain feelings of patriotism, but the grave concern of foreign chip production goes far beyond mere feelings. Just as we see more and more microchips in our vehicles and consumer goods, military technologies increasingly rely upon them as well. Consider a recent contract between the U.S. Army and Microsoft worth nearly $22 billion. Over ten years, Microsoft committed to providing the Army with 120,000 HoloLens headsets, which enable commanders to display information directly onto a soldier’s visor. As part of the Integrated Visual Augmentation Program, this emerging technology will be relied upon by American troops to successfully execute their missions and get home safely. All of this would be impossible without the use of microchips, which Microsoft still imports from nations like China.
Lest you believe that Microsoft limits these Chinese chips to consumer applications, I would refer you to the February 23 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee in which Senator Josh Hawley directly asked Microsoft president Brad Smith if Chinese chips were being used for technologies sent to the Department of Defense. Smith claimed that he did not know the answer to the question. Sen. Hawley asked him to commit to ending the practice if it was discovered, which Smith flatly refused to do.
Mr. Smith offered the vague and lame excuse that Microsoft had been trying their best to diversify chip production to other nations like Taiwan, but that does not solve the problem. Taiwan is highly vulnerable to invasion and domination by China. We cannot rely on their manufacturing ability for our military readiness. Based on these answers, Americans can only conclude that our U.S. Armed Forces is being made to rely upon Chinese technology to protect American lives and interests. Military superiority doesn’t just mean having the biggest planes and ships. It means having the capability to ramp up production immediately when the need arises.