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IPC, the global association of electronics manufacturers, is applauding the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for establishing a new Defense Electronics Consortium (DEC).
The DoD recently awarded $3.9 million to the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE) to establish and manage the consortium, through which industry and academia will work with DoD to solve the government’s electronics-related challenges. USPAE is an independent, nonprofit subsidiary of IPC.
IPC President and CEO John Mitchell said, “As a global organization, IPC believes all nations should take steps to ensure trusted supply chains for electronics related to essential government functions such as national security.
“Electronic systems and devices are at the heart of today’s defense and security systems, and DoD is wise to create a mechanism for having visibility into – and relationships across – the entire electronics manufacturing ecosystem,” Mitchell added.
The USPAE’s affiliation with IPC provides connections to about 2,000 U.S. member companies across all parts of the supply chain, as well as relevant research and academic institutions. IPC, in collaboration with U.S. electronics manufacturers, created USPAE to support industry partnership with the U.S. government. Due to the sensitive nature of some of the work being done through USPAE, appropriate firewalls have been put in place between the organizations.
The DEC’s first project will be an effort to accelerate the adoption of lead-free electronics in defense systems. Industry experts believe a five-year, $40 million investment in a public-private program would yield more than $100 million in U.S. defense savings per year and improve military readiness and overall innovation. The Congress has provided $15 million for such efforts since FY 2020.
Davy Nakada, Rogers Corporation
Our industry has suffered from a lack of visibility with policymakers. PCBAA brings many voices together so those in Washington realize what's at stake. Semiconductors have received the most attention in recent years while the domestic production of PCBs and related PCB materials continues to decline. We are now seeing legislative language supporting domestic production because of how PCBAA has educated lawmakers and policymakers on the PCB’s place in the microelectronics ecosystem.
Chris Peters, USPAE
Like a cancer that spreads untreated until it becomes an urgent problem, the U.S. defense community is facing a small but growing problem that is increasingly undermining U.S. military readiness and technological dominance. The problem is lead—specifically, the lead-alloy solders that traditionally have been used to attach electronic components to printed circuit boards (PCBs). Over the last 15 years, the commercial electronics industry has shifted to lead-free solders, prompted by environmental health regulations in Europe and elsewhere. However, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its contractors never made the switch and are still heavily reliant on leaded solders. Now, leaded electronics are becoming harder to find and more outdated.
Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
I have always been fascinated by research labs, especially those tied to major universities. These are the true leaders of innovation and invention and at the very top of the PCB industry. So, when I met Allen Keeney, chief engineer of the Advanced Electrical Fabrication Group at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, I jumped at the chance to talk with him. You will enjoy this look at another facet of our PCB industry.