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NEWS | Aug. 31, 2021

NSWC Crane hosted sixth annual Microelectronics Integrity Meeting to provide national forum for microelectronics technology

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) hosted the sixth annual Microelectronics Integrity Meeting (MIM) August 24-25. Attendees from national and state government, industry, academia, and multiple military branches participated in the forum.

The two-day event featured topics on strategic radiation hardened electronics, radiation modernization, heterogeneous integration as an enabler to system modernization, and challenges beyond funding in microelectronics workforce development. 

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb was a guest speaker at the MIM and addressed the importance of microelectronics.

“NSWC Crane is vital to our country’s national security and assuring trusted microelectronics,” says Governor Holcomb. “As the Department of Defense recognizes, our nation is operating in a zero trust environment when it comes to our microelectronics supply chain. We need to be capable of designing, producing, packaging, authenticating, and verifying semiconductors that we rely on for our national defense and critical infrastructure. The activity, tools, and processes to address this challenge are being developed here in Indiana, in partnership with Crane, our world-class research universities, and leading semiconductor companies and their end customers.”

The primary purpose of the MIM is to support the Navy, the DoD, industry, and academic partners working cooperatively to improve the nation’s strategic nuclear deterrent and high reliability systems.

Microelectronics are foundational to DoD and Navy systems. Brian Stuffle, the Division Manager for Trusted Microelectronics at NSWC Crane, presented at the MIM.

“Microelectronics are used everywhere,” says Stuffle. “They are used to provide functionality to systems and sub-systems to ensure that they function and operate as designed. Microelectronics ensure that a system functions as it was designed and to perform reliably when called upon.”

NSWC Crane, an inland Navy research and development laboratory, is the only federal lab in the state of Indiana. Stuffle says Crane’s role in assuring trusted microelectronics is critical. 

“NSWC Crane has a high concentration of Navy’s microelectronics subject matter experts,” says Stuffle. “The technical experts at Crane collaborate with top academic and industry partners, which includes talent in the Hoosier state. Indiana has become the Crossroads for Strategic Defense and the State has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to supporting strategic programs for the Navy and DoD. In addition, universities such as Indiana University, Purdue University, and Notre Dame help to form an ecosystem in Indiana that supports trusted microelectronics leadership and research.”

Stuffle notes there are challenges facing the DoD with microelectronics.

“The availability of strategic microelectronic devices, particularly those with radiation-hardened properties, from domestic suppliers are a real challenge,” says Stuffle. “In addition, supply chain security and integrity of microelectronic parts for use in DoD systems are another major challenge as counterfeit part infiltration into the supply chain is a prime concern.”

NSWC Crane has a longstanding history working on these evolving challenges.

“NSWC Crane provides national leadership in trusted microelectronics through numerous leadership roles supporting the OSD Trusted & Assured Microelectronics Program,” says Stuffle. “In addition, NSWC Crane has over 60 years of experience providing strategic, rad-hard microelectronics for the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs by utilizing state of the art microelectronics capability in component engineering, failure and material analysis, rad-hard design V&V, and Radiation Sciences.”

Stuffle says the MIM provides a national forum to find collaborative areas of work in trusted microelectronics.

“The MIM describes NSWC Crane’s role for the Navy and DoD in the Trusted and Assured Microelectronics Program Plan for the Office of the Secretary of Defense,” says Stuffle. “This plan is designed to improve DoD microelectronics evaluation capabilities and develop commercial standards to make trusted parts a competitive advantage, and will ultimately demonstrate and transition an alternative approach to the Trusted Foundry model. The annual meeting is used to discuss and explain the collaborative efforts with the Navy, Air Force, and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in reducing the overall cost and risk of maintaining our strategic deterrent and to showcase the value of the work at NSWC Crane.”

Stuffle says the event provides a unique opportunity to collaborate on solutions to these challenges.

“The MIM encourages a forum of collaboration to develop communities of interest to address growing concerns and problems associated with the microelectronics industrial base and trust,” says Stuffle. “There are potential efficiencies and common work in research, development, and production, particularly as we look at areas in industry where skills sustainment is of significant importance.  Now is the time to look at resource and component commonality, where applicable. The development of these communities of interest and collaboration would be difficult, if not impossible, without the ability to share information in this meeting format in a personal and interactive manner.”

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

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