It’s no secret that a serious shortage of chips is slowing the manufacture of cars and other complex products that rely heavily on digital technologies. The chip shortage is more than an inconvenience – it’s a serious dilemma that puts us at a strategic disadvantage in highly competitive global markets.

The new infrastructure plan announced last week by the White House may provide needed relief for manufacturers who depend on semiconductors to build their products.

The president’s $2 trillion package is “primarily tailored to bridges, roads and other transportation initiatives. The proposal also calls for a $50 billion investment in semiconductor manufacturing and research,” writes Tyler Clifford of CNBC.  “A global chip shortage, heightened by high demand for computers and other technological products during the coronavirus pandemic, has pressured American manufacturers. For instance, Ford announced Wednesday it will reduce car production at multiple North American plants due to the low supply for semiconductors.”

From my perspective, it makes sense for the government to focus on boosting the semiconductor industry. This seems like a win-win proposition on multiple levels.

In other news last week, “Microsoft announced that it has received a contract to outfit the United States Army with tens of thousands of augmented reality headsets based on the company’s HoloLens tech. This contract could be worth as much as $21.88 billion over 10 years,” writes Lucas Matney of TechCrunch. “Microsoft will be fulfilling an order for 120,000 AR headsets for the Army based on their Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) design. The modified design upgrades the capabilities of the HoloLens 2 for the needs of soldiers in the field.”

Both the infrastructure plan and the Microsoft-Army deal send strong signals to the world that we are serious about maintaining our leading role in the development and implementation of new digital technologies.