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Well into the 1970s, the U.S. military's status as one of the largest consumers of integrated circuits gave it some control over the industry's production and manufacturing, so the offshoring trend didn't pose a big problem. The Pentagon could always find a domestic fab and pay a little more to make highly classified and mission-critical chips. The DOD also maintained its own chip-making plant at Fort Meade, near Washington, D.C., until the early 1980s, when costs became prohibitive.
Operating the $200 million-plus NSA facility since 1990 has been National Semiconductor Corp., in Santa Clara, Calif. The NSA fab includes a 20,000-square-foot class-10 cleanroom for fabrication and a 4,800-square-foot class 1000 packaging center. The original idea was to service NSA`s own needs in the intelligence arena, particularly for old components that executives of commercial semiconductor firms are either unable or unwilling to produce. Now the facility is ramping up to service the needs of other federal agencies and programs, and is offering a complete one-stop shopping center for design, fabrication, assembly, and test.
Originally posted by rogerstigers
My guess is that they make their own surveillence gear. I would be willing to bet that this plant is not like a normal mass production plant, but rather is tooled for rapid retooling in case a new chip design or componant is needed.
Of course this is based on the "What would I use it for" approach.. not sure if that applies to gvernment types.
Originally posted by fraterormus
From the article in the second link I posted, that is precisely what the "Official" explanation is. They can take specs from a datafile and rapidly retool the plant to produce the requested yield of product in under three weeks, giving DoD agencies and partners a quick turn-around time on outdated or specialized components.
So, assuming the NSA is on the up-and-up, sounds like you and they are on the same page.
I just learned long ago that when it comes to any PR department, whether a private commercial entity or a bureaucracy, what they say and what they are trying to hide when giving such statements are usually two different beasts altogether.
High-end Surveillance Equipment seems a pretty likely candidate to me too.edit on 29-10-2010 by fraterormus because: (no reason given)