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CIB’s Critical Mission Center analysts brief National Security Agency

On March 27, the Chanticleer Intelligence Brief’s Critical Mission Centers (CMCs) traveled to the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Gordon, Georgia. While there, they met with a host of NSA officials and briefed them about the conclusions of their open-source research project. They also delivered an unclassified report, which contains the executive summary of their semester-long research. It was the first project of its kind in the history of the Intelligence and Security Studies program at Coastal Carolina University, and the first time that the senior analysts of the CIB have briefed officials from a “three-letter” agency on-site.

The project was inspired by an open call for unclassified research, which was issued in August of 2022 by the Intelligence Analysis Advisor of the NSA’s Office of Academic Engagement. It was the first such call issued since November of 2021, when the Intelligence and Security Studies program at CCU signed an Educational Partnership Agreement with the NSA. The CIB’s Critical Mission Center project was offered the opportunity to select one from a handful of research topics, all of which represent major national security challenges for the United States. The topic selected by the group of 14 senior analysts focused on the production and use of semiconductors. However, the group kept the nature of the project secret until it was able to brief the NSA in late March.

The final executive report, which is the product of the work of the CMCs, is now available online, and will soon be published on the website of the NSA. It considers the national security challenges related to Taiwan being the world leaders in advanced semiconductor fabrication. The island is also an important partner in producing United States-designed chips. It follows that, should the People’s Republic of China (PRC) take control of Taiwan, the current production process and trade agreements between the United States and Taiwan would be severely disrupted, if not terminated. Such a move would bring the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) under the control of the PRC, and would instantly close the current gap between indigenous PRC computer chip development and United States/Taiwan, garnering a major victory for Xi Jinping’s Made in China 2025 policy—all while presenting grave security concerns for US sensitive technology reliant on said semiconductors.

The CIB wishes to thank the NSA Office of Academic Engagement and the Intelligence Analysis Liaison at NSA Georgia for this opportunity. It also wishes to thank the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts at CCU and the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies at CCU for funding its research activities. The final executive report produced by the CIB senior analysts is available here.