The group's primary conclusion was that DoD and its suppliers "face a major integrated circuit supply dilemma that threatens the security and integrity of classified and sensitive circuit design information, the superiority and correct functioning of electronic systems, system reliability, continued supply of long system-life and special technology components."
To ensure continued DoD access to advanced, secure manufacturing facilities, the task force recommended a broad U.S. effort to offset the movement of leading edge chip foundries to offshore locations. Specific measures recommended by the task fore included:
Urging strict compliance with World Trade Organization rules.
Strict enforcement of intellectual property laws.
Increased DoD and spy agency involvement in shaping government policies related to technology.
Increased university research funding to ensure U.S. competitiveness.
Continued spy agency monitoring of the global state of microelectronics.
A key subtext for the report is the rise of China's semiconductor industry and its growing regional power. U.S. export controls have emerged as a major issue in flow of semiconductor technology to China. But experts said those controls are uneven at best.
The Pentagon has generally taken a hard line on technology exports to China, but other U.S. officials have said export licenses to China are considered on a case-by-case basis.
The task force report concluded that the 33-nation Wassenaar Arrangement covering exports of sensitive chip manufacturing equipment has failed to ensure "that potential adversaries do not have access to leading edge design and wafer fabrication equipment, technology and cell libraries."
It recommended that the U.S. negotiate bilateral agreements with Wassenaar members to harmonize export licensing procedures for semiconductor manufacturing gear and design tools.
It also called for a separate agreement on IC equipment exports with Taiwan, which has bankrolled much of China's chip industry.