Congress moves to bring back domestic microelectronics manufacturing

The Defense Department will have to stop using circuit boards, made in China and other potentially adversarial countries in its mission systems starting in 2023, according to a provision in the 2021 defense policy bill.

The 2021 defense policy bill, which Congress passed last week and is awaiting the president’s signature, prohibits DOD from buying circuit boards used for mission critical functions that are made in certain countries, including China and Russia starting in 2023 with exceptions for commercial-off-the-shelf products and services. The legislation also names North Korea and Iran as off-limits, but the U.S. already has rules in place banning most trade with either country.

The defense secretary can also make exemptions “after reasonable notice, based on a determination that the designation is required to support national security,” according to the bill language.

“The pandemic was a big wake up call,” said John Mitchell, the president and CEO of the electronics industry advocacy organization, IPC. “The tariffs that started a couple of years ago got everybody to pay attention…but then the pandemic said, wow, my supply chain just got cut off and I can’t buy certain things.”


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