My Testimony Before Congress Urging Increased Investment in Semiconductor Innovation

I had the honor of testifying today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation at its hearing on Implementing Supply Chain Resiliency. Especially against the backdrop of the much-discussed global chip shortage, this hearing was an important dialogue on America’s future approach to a technology that quite literally provides the building blocks for all modern electronics and that is absolutely critical to our country’s economic success.

I found it important to discuss with Senate leaders the need for America to increase investments in both semiconductor innovation and manufacturing in order to make sure we are continuously innovating and improving this essential technology. Much of the conversation has been appropriately focused on increasing domestic manufacturing capacity, but as our nation continues the push for leadership in AI, quantum computing, hybrid cloud, cybersecurity, and more, we also need increasingly advanced chips that can support these technologies. If we fail to invest sufficiently in innovation, we’re only fighting half the battle 

Innovation is critical to our economy and national security. As Congress is grappling with the global semiconductor supply chain shortage, I was encouraged today to see the bipartisan support for taking action and working collectively with the private sector to address this risk.

As a recognized leader in semiconductor innovation, IBM recently unveiled the world’s first 2nm chip and has for decades advanced chip technology breakthroughs that have pushed the boundaries of semiconductor capabilities. That history makes us confident in the view that America is at a crossroads, and that now is the time to reinvigorate our national approach to and investments in science, innovation and discovery, as IBM’s CEO, Arvind Krishna, recently called for in advocating a Science Forward policy agenda.

My testimony before the Senate focused on three key actions the U.S. Government should take - invest, create effective partnerships, and ensure outcomes that benefit Americans today and in the future. IBM has actively urged Congress to pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, including fully funding the CHIPS Act. Before the committee, I zeroed in on the need to prioritize investment in advanced chip R&D, design and prototyping, and packaging. To further accelerate semiconductor innovation, a key aspect of the CHIPS Act is establishing the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC). I highlighted the unique innovation ecosystem in Albany, NY that IBM is a part of, which could provide a springboard for this center to become operational and deliver breakthroughs faster than a greenfield investment elsewhere. Shorter time to discovery means a more prudent and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

One of the most important aspects of my testimony was the discussion about creating a pipeline of skilled workers who can continue to unlock future developments in these critical technologies. There are concrete steps, such as reforming the Higher Education Act and expanding access to Pell Grants for less than full-time courses of study, that Congress can take to increase diversity in STEM, expand access to education pathways, and promote a more inclusive high-tech workforce and I’m confident that through investment, partnerships, and maintaining a focus on long-term outcomes we can bolster America’s leadership in semiconductors and the critical technologies that chips make possible for decades to come.