U.S. Leadership in Semiconductors:
How do we protect our modern digital economy?

The U.S. economy’s strength is its ability to drive world-changing innovation. Recent shortages in the semiconductor market have created serious repercussions globally and exposed supply chain risk. The future of the semiconductor industry can only be secured when technology change makers are empowered, connected and innovate at scale. This is why MITRE Engenuity is bringing together key thought leaders to reimagine the semiconductor ecosystem and drive generational change.

Welcome to Circuit Talk, a speaker series that creates an open dialogue around these complex technology issues, framed against the backdrop of public policy and public good.

Throughout the series, MITRE Engenuity will convene perspectives from government, industry and academia to explore current challenges and create strength-based solutions. It is through this collaboration that the U.S. can accelerate industry innovation and reignite our global semiconductor leadership.

Meet your hosts

Dr. Nadia Schadlow
Senior Fellow, Hudson Institution
Affiliate, Hoover Institution Affiliate,
MITRE Senior Visiting Fellow

Dr. Nadia Schadlow is a former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and a visiting fellow at MITRE and the Hoover Institution. She writes frequently on national security issues, and focuses on issues at the intersection of technology and strategy.

Pavneet Singh
Nonresident Fellow,
Brookings Institution

Pavneet Singh served on National Security and Economic teams under President Obama, and most recently was on the Biden-Harris transition team. He is a Nonresident Fellow at Brookings Institution.

“The US Semiconductor Industry”

What do physics and translational R&D have to do with the future of the supply chain?

Guest: Dr. Edlyn Levine

Chief Technologist at MITRE Accelerator

Summary: As dictated by the physics underlying semiconductors and the scientific challenges of creating smaller and smaller chips, we are reaching the physical limits of what is possible. In this episode, Dr. Edlyn Levine discusses the direct impact of physics on the complexities of the semiconductor ecosystem and highlights the importance of prioritizing translational Research & Development (R&D) when considering U.S. government funding.


Stay up to date with Circuit Talk


"Semiconductors & National Security"

Why is U.S. semiconductor leadership important?

Summary: The U.S. needs a thriving domestic semiconductor market that ensures availability, price, trust, and performance. In this episode Dr. Coleman asserts that, in order to grow this market, the US strategy must scope out where we want to be and execute across the whole of government.

Dr. Victoria Coleman, Chief Scientist at USAF and former Director of DARPA

Dr. Victoria Coleman is the Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force, Arlington, Virginia. She serves as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Chief of Space Operations. She provides assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the department’s mission. In this role, she identifies and analyzes technical issues, bringing them to the attention of department leaders. She interacts with other principals, operational commanders, combatant commands, acquisition, and science and technology communities to address cross-organizational issues and provide solutions. Dr. Coleman also interacts with other services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense on issues affecting the Department of the Air Force’s technical enterprise. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and is the Principal Science and Technology Representative of the Air Force to the civilian scientific and engineering community and to the public at large.

Full bio available at:

Why is U.S. semiconductor leadership important?


"The Evolution of the Global Semiconductor Industry"

How do we reignite innovation?

Summary: The tendency of capital markets to export manufacturing has created a gap between semiconductor innovation and manufacturing. As seen in Taiwan's successful growth in foundry capacities, this impact has also revealed vulnerabilities for the US In this episode, Prof. Shih warns of the corrosive effects of subsidies and urges US policies that attract the best in industry.

Prof. Willy Shih, Robert & Jane Cizik Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School

Willy Shih is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration. He is part of the Technology and Operations Management Unit, and he teaches in the MBA and Executive Education Programs. His expertise is in manufacturing and product development, and he has written or co-authored numerous cases and teaching materials in industries ranging from semiconductors, information technology, consumer electronics, aerospace, transportation equipment, manufacturing processes and tools, and intellectual property. His paper, “Restoring American Competitiveness,” co-authored with Gary Pisano, won the 2009 McKinsey Award. His book, “Producing Prosperity – Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance,” co-authored with Gary Pisano, has called attention to the link between manufacturing and innovation. He is also the author of “Back Bay Battery,” a best-selling innovation simulation.

Full bio available at:

How do we reignite innovation?


"Challenges for Commercializing the Next Generation of Microelectronics"

How can public-private partnership spur the next phase of semiconductor innovation?

Summary: The U.S. collaborated with the semiconductor industry to launch Sematech, a public private partnership that catalyzed investment in R&D of advanced lithography techniques. In this episode, Dan Ambrust gives a view into small but productive innovation efforts ongoing in the private sector today and shares insights about how policy makers can spur on the semiconductor industry.

Dan Armbrust, Co-founder & Director of Silicon Catalyst

Daniel Armbrust is a Silicon Catalyst co-founder, member of the Board of Directors and its initial CEO.

Daniel is also currently working with the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs to define a strategic public-private partnership program to continue advances in computing and semiconductor technologies. He is currently on the Board of Ayar Labs, a silicon photonics startup and graduate of Silicon Catalyst.

Full bio available at:

How can public-private partnership spur the next phase of semiconductor innovation?

AIRED 6/10

Episode 5: “R&D as the Foundation
of the Future Supply Chain”


"R&D as the Foundation of the Future Supply Chain"

How can policy makers and industry leaders work together to create impactful change?

Summary: The Semiconductor Research Corporation played an important role in the early years of the industry. After detailing some of the history, Ken Hansen discusses the challenges that companies face today, and how private sector and public policy officials can work together to solve them.

Ken Hansen, President & CEO HTKH LLC

Ken Hansen joined Semiconductor Research Corporation as its President and CEO in June 2015.

Ken brings to SRC his experience as the former Vice President and Chief Technology Officer with Freescale Semiconductor. Prior to becoming CTO at Freescale, Ken was Vice President and led Freescale’s Chief Development Office where he improved designefficiency and reduced product cost for all Freescale business units. Previously, he held several senior technology and management positions at Freescale and Motorola leading research and development teams.

Full bio available at:

How can policy makers and industry leaders work together to create impactful change?


Episode 6: “The Role of the


"The Role of the Academy"

How does university driven R&D advance semiconductor technology and how can we fuel its impact?

Summary: The U.S. Academy has long been the wellspring of foundational research and experimentation of next generation technologies. Joined by Dr. Zak Holman from Arizona State University, this episode provides a unique opportunity to investigate the ways in which those in academia are poised to address specific challenges, opportunities, and questions for the semiconductor industry.

Prof. Zachary Holman, Arizona State University

Zachary Holman is an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at Arizona State University, as well as the Director of Faculty Entrepreneurship within the Fulton Schools of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota for his work on plasma-synthesized silicon and germanium nanocrystals, after which he spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher developing high-efficiency silicon solar cells at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. His research group at ASU focuses on new materials, processes, and device designs for high-efficiency silicon solar cells and silicon-based tandem solar cells. He has been named a Moore Inventor Fellow, Trustees of ASU Professor, Fulton Entrepreneurial Professor, and Joseph C. Palais Distinguished Faculty Scholar, and he is the co-founder of an advanced materials start-up company, Swift Coat.

Full bio available at:

How does university driven R&D advance semiconductor technology and how can we fuel its impact?


"The View from Industry"

What is the role of partners and allies in building a trusted and competitive semiconductor supply chain?

Summary: The U.S. semiconductor industry faces real engineering and financial challenges, and policy makers are faced with a historic moment to reassess how the U.S. can compete in the global market. A veteran of the technology industry, Susie Armstrong provides her current assessment of the chip industry in this episode, including what the U.S. can learn from other countries as they regain leadership in the industry.

Susie Armstrong, Senior Vice President, Engineering at Qualcomm, Inc.

Susan M. Armstrong started at Qualcomm working on Globalstar and then early CDMA base station projects. She was a pioneer in bringing internet protocols to the cellular industry, resulting in the first web surfing on a cellular phone in 1997, and Qualcomm's commercialization of packet data in 1998. Since then she has held various leadership positions, first responsible for the development and commercialization of the all of the software that drives Qualcomm's chipsets, and then as the head of worldwide Customer Engineering, the group who integrates and commercializes the company's products in phones and other wireless devices. In 2015, Armstrong has joined Qualcomm's Government Affairs group, where she brings an engineering and product background the Government Affairs work in worldwide public policy, including intellectual property protection, cyber security, STEM and STEM diversity.

Full bio available at:

AIRED 5/20

Episode 1: “The US
Semiconductor Industry”

Dr. Edlyn Levine, Chief
Technologist MITRE Accelerator

What do physics and translational R&D have to do with the future of the supply chain?


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