Commentary: Onshoring Semiconductor Capacity Is Crucial to National Security

semiconductor

When you think about national security, you probably don’t immediately think about semiconductors. These tiny chips are the “brains” enabling all the computational capabilities and data storage that we take for granted today. Chips power virtually every sector of the economy – including data centers, automotive, healthcare, banking, and agriculture. As a consequence of their widespread use, semiconductors have grown to become a $555 billion global industry, and are the world’s fourth most traded product. Semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging have been cited frequently as one of the main critical supply chain priorities for the nation.

A steady source of uninterrupted, trusted chips is necessary for the security of the nation – supporting the readiness of the U.S. military and protecting critical infrastructure like the electric grid. The problem is that most chips are fabricated outside of the U.S., in the vulnerable region of Southeast Asia – hence the security issues. Around three quarters of global chip production capacity comes from Southeast Asia.

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North Korea Reports Having Launched Missile Capable of Hitting U.S. Territory Guam

North Korea's ballistic missile

North Korea acknowledged Monday having test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. territory Guam.

South Korea and Japan first reported Sunday that the Hwasong-12 missile had been launched – making it the seventh nuclear-capable missile having been launched since 2017 by the rogue nation.

The North Korean state news said the missile was fired as a test and took a high trajectory to avoid flying over neighboring countries. The projectile flew just under 500 miles before landing in the sea between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.

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Department of Energy to Release Millions of Barrels of Oil From Reserve to Combat Surging Gas Prices

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced Tuesday the release of millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to combat soaring gas prices.

The DOE approved the release of 13.4 million barrels from its SPR, marking the second-largest exchange from the reserve and bringing the total amount of oil released from the cache to almost 40 million barrels.

Exchange contracts for the released oil have were awarded to seven companies. President Joe Biden authorized a plan in November 2021 to release 50 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR in a coordinated effort with China, India, Japan, South Korea and the U.K. to combat surging gas prices and assist in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

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Democrat Ex-Lawmakers Contracted to Lobby for North Korean Business Investment

Two former Democratic congressmen contracted with a lobbying firm to advocate on behalf of South Korean businesses operating factories in North Korea, according to recent filings.

Former Democratic Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay joined law firm and lobby shop Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman on Wednesday to lobby on behalf of the Corporate Association of the Gaesong Industrial Complex (CAGIC) at the direction of South Korean consultancy HC & Sons, according to a foreign agent filing with the Justice Department. Former Democratic Texas Rep. Greg Laughlin, who has been with Pillsbury since 2004 and served in Congress for 6 years before switching parties, began lobbying on behalf of CAGIC in December 2021, filings show.

Pillsbury began working with CAGIC in July 2021, filings show, signing a $675,000 contract to provide services including “general advocacy, including meetings with U.S. Executive and Legislative Branches.” The firm will also “provide information to CAGIC and advocate on its behalf,” filings show.

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Biden Asks Asian Countries to Release Oil Reserves as Administration Scrambles to Combat High Gas Prices: Report

Joe Biden

The Biden administration asked China, Japan, South Korea and India to tap into their emergency oil reserves as the president continues to grapple with rising gasoline prices, Reuters reported.

The effort to simultaneously release oil reserves represents a rebuke of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the cartel that controls oil production throughout the Middle East, several anonymous sources familiar with the request told Reuters on Wednesday. OPEC has repeatedly rejected requests from President Joe Biden and other top administration officials to increase oil production amid rising gasoline prices.

The four Asian nations the president appealed to represent some of the largest energy consumers and greenhouse gas emitters, according to a University of Oxford database.

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Hackers Steal Customer Information in McDonald’s Cyberattack

McDonald's at sunset

Hackers obtained customer data from McDonald’s after breaching the company’s systems in the U.S., South Korea and Taiwan, according to The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. employees’ and franchisees’ contact information, seating capacity of U.S. locations and the dimensions of play areas at restaurants in the U.S were all exposed during the breach, McDonald’s said Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported. While McDonald’s said the hack didn’t cause disruptions at any of its locations, it vowed to launch an investigation into the breach and continue to invest in bolstering its cybersecurity protocol.

“McDonald’s will leverage the findings from the investigation as well as input from security resources to identify ways to further enhance our existing security measures,” the global fast food chain told U.S. employees in an internal message, according to the WSJ.

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LG to Exit Phone Industry after Unprofitable Sales

LG Phone

Losses in the mobile phone business have driven the South Korean electronics company LG to quit the production of phones and instead focus more on profitable items including electric vehicle components, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Following approval from the company’s board, LG on Monday announced the changes and expects to fully exit the phone industry by July.

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Missing Seoul Mayor’s Body Found After Massive Search

The missing mayor of South Korea’s capital, reportedly embroiled in sexual harassment allegations, was found dead early Friday, more than half a day after giving his daughter a will-like message and then leaving home, police said.

Police said they located Park Won-soon’s body near a traditional restaurant in wooded hills in northern Seoul, more than seven hours after they launched a massive search for him.

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U.S. Officials Battle Coronavirus on Multiple Health Care, Economic Fronts Even as Death Toll Reaches 9

The coronavirus death toll in the United States hit nine on Tuesday, even as more areas around the world report infections.

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‘He’s Trying to Grab Trump’s Attention’: North Korea Test Fires ‘Projectiles’ Into the Sea

by Tim Pearce   North Korea fired several unidentified short-range weapons off the country’s east coast into the Sea of Japan on Saturday morning, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry. South Korea said the projectiles were launched shortly after 9 a.m. local time and flew 70 to 200 kilometers before…

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