IBM to provide trusted and secure integrated circuit manufacturing to U.S. military in $275 million deal

May 22, 2019
Computer chip designers at IBM Corp. will design trusted integrated circuit manufacturing flows in the company's semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

McCLELLAN PARK, Calif. – High-reliability computer chip designers at IBM Corp. will design and implement trusted fabrication flows in the company's semiconductor manufacturing facilities under terms of a $275 million contract announced Tuesday.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) in McClellan Park, Calif., are asking IBM Global Business Services in Reston, Va., also to enable leading-edge semiconductor technologies, and create a certified trusted supply chain to deliver classified and trusted mask and wafer fabrication within an open commercial environment.

This contract is to enable “trusted” manufacturing flows in the Trusted Foundry Access II contractor’s fabrication facilities; to enable a wide-range of associated leading-edge semiconductor technologies and services; and to create a trusted supply chain with the contractor, fully certified and accredited, to deliver classified and trusted mask and wafer fabrication within an “open” commercial environment.

DMEA managed the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Trusted Foundry program, which seeks to provide a cost-effective way to assure the integrity and confidentiality of integrated circuit (IC) devices during design and manufacturing, while providing the U.S. government with access to leading-edge microelectronics technologies for trusted and non-sensitive applications.

In this case, trusted refers to confidence in securing national security systems by certifying the people and processes that design and manufacture national security-sensitive microelectronics components.

Related: DARPA briefs industry on initiatives in trusted computing, secure chip use, semiconductor manufacturing

Trusted sources provide an assured chain of custody for classified and unclassified ICs; assure that no reasonable threats will disrupt supply; prevent intentional or unintentional IC modification or tampering; and protect ICs from unauthorized attempts at reverse engineering, exposure of functionality, or evaluation of their possible vulnerabilities.

The DOD Trusted Foundry program provides the U.S. government with guaranteed access to leading-edge trusted microelectronics services for typically low-volume military and government manufacturing. Leading-edge foundry services including multi-project wafer runs, dedicated prototypes, and high- and low-volume production.

This contract to IBM provides an additional layer of security to commercial IC manufacturing processes that gives government access to advanced technology manufacturing capabilities for trusted and classified programs.

In addition, the contract provides expertise and consulting to help establish and certify new facilities and processes in advanced semiconductor technologies. IBM's contract includes five task orders.

IBM will do the work in Burlington, Vt.; East Fishkill and Malta, N.Y.; Annapolis Junction, Md.; Bromont, Quebec; and Boise, Idaho. For more information contact IBM Global Business Services online at, or the Defense Microelectronics Activity at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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