“It’s absolutely critical,” McMaster, a retired Army lieutenant general, told CNN in a phone interview. “If China has a lock on supply chains relating to economic prosperity or our security, that’s a really bad thing.”
“Supply chains that have been biased in favor almost exclusively of efficiency and low-cost have to be shifted in favor of resilience,” McMaster said in the interview.
Just 12% of the world’s computer chips are made in the United States today, compared with 40% in 1990, according to the Commerce Department. Almost all — 90% — of the most sophisticated chips are made outside the United States.
McMaster, now a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, worries the war in Ukraine will give Beijing another opening to make the United States and the West more dependent on China for critical goods — this time, through semiconductors.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo shares some of those concerns.
“Our competitors like China are racing to support their semiconductor industries and they aren’t waiting for us to catch up,” Raimondo said at the Commerce event. “Every day we wait is a day we fall further behind.”
McMaster called on Republicans and Democrats to set aside their differences to invest in US semiconductors.
“Stop compromising important national security interests to score partisan political points,” he said. “If there is one area of bipartisan agreement, it’s on the threat from China’s communist party. There is a heck of a lot more continuity than change in the Trump and Biden administrations there.”