IPC and the PCBAA Urge Congress to Fully Fund Printed Circuit Boards or Face Continuing National Security and Economic Risks

WASHINGTON – In a letter signed by 54 microelectronics executives, IPC, the global association for electronics manufacturing, and the Printed Circuit Board Association of America (PCBAA) are calling on Congress to fully fund the Defense Production Act Purchases Account at the House-passed level of $618 million and $1.08 billion for the Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program.

These funding sources are crucial to restore American leadership in the strategically vital printed circuit board (PCB) industry. The United States currently produces only four percent of the world’s supply compared to 30 percent at the turn of the century. PCBs are central to all electronics across all industries including defense, healthcare, telecommunications, aviation, and automotive.

The semiconductors funded by the CHIPS and Science Act gain functionality through their placement on PCBs. As chips have increased in sophistication, so too have the PCBs upon which they are placed. U.S. armed forces depend on PCBs found in everything from night vision goggles and drones to avionics and satellites.

“Semiconductor chips are powerful examples of modern innovation, but they require an electronic system to operate,” said John W. Mitchell, IPC president and CEO. “Chips have no functionality until they are packaged and placed on PCBs by electronics manufacturers who assemble systems. IPC and our member companies urge Congress to reinvigorate a domestic PCB industry that is critical to U.S. industrial resiliency, economic competitiveness, and national security. ”

“America’s leadership in microelectronics has implications for our national and economic security,” said PCBAA Chairman Travis Kelly, “As they did with the CHIPS Act, Congress must invest in American printed circuit boards.”

For years, experts inside and outside of government have warned that the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) reliance on a long and vulnerable supply chain creates unacceptable risk.

· 2017: The Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security issued a warning to DOD regarding the health of the PCB industry

· 2018: The White House recommended that the DOD expand direct investment in the lower tier of the industrial base.

· 2022: The Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security warned of serious risks because of the lack of PCB manufacturing and recommended investment incentives and funding of Title III of the Defense Production Act.

· 2023: The House Select Committee on the United States Competition with the Chinese Communist Party recommended financial assistance programs for American PCB manufacturing and research. This was the first of 150 recommendations in their report.

· 2024: The Department of Defense named microelectronics as a key area of risk for the defense industrial base. For the full text of the letter, please visit https://emails.ipc.org/links/IPC-IndustryLetter_FY24Appropriations.pdf

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