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Global chip shortage is national security threat and investment opportunity - former DOH official

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - The global computer chip shortage could have larger ramifications than making it more expensive to buy a car or waiting longer for the latest video game console.

Semiconductors and computer chips are an integral part of consumer and government information technology systems, and a challenge to the supply chain could create threats to the very security of our nation, said Matt Hayden, former assistant secretary for cyber, infrastructure, risk and resilience of the Department of Homeland Security.

"Everything from our information systems, to our defense systems, to our sensitive electronics that we use as a government to protect the everyday citizen has the challenge of supply if it's no longer available. It's also giving nation state actors that don't necessarily have our best interest in mind in that area to hold back potentially those supplies, should they choose," Hayden told Kitco's editor-in-chief Michelle Makori.

The supply shortage of chips is caused by a variety of factors.

"COVID plays a role. There's a number complex bottlenecks that have hit here. We also have a challenge from this source…and that's the rare Earth mineral challenge," Hayden said.

These supply shortages can last for a significant amount of time, Hayden noted.

"We're looking at days from 200 to past a year for specific chips that range from consumer electronics to major manufacturing across the world," he said.

The crisis also presents an opportunity for investors with the Biden Administration pledging to infuse the semiconductor sector with funds .

"Well, domestic companies that make semiconductors, they're going to be infused with capital. They're going to be surrounded with any amount of support from a local and federal jurisdictions. You're going to have the hand of government moving on the economic scale to make sure they're successful because without their success, we're going to have future challenges," said Hayden.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.