Securing the Supply Chain #110 | Embracing Digital Transformation | Intel Business
Hello, this is Darren Pulsipher, chief solution architect of public sector at Intel. And welcome to Embracing Digital Transformation, where we investigate effective change, leveraging people, process and technology. On today's episode, Securing the supply Chain with former Lieutenant General Thomas Horlander. Thomas, welcome to the show. Great to be here, Darren And thanks for having me. I look forward to our discussion today.
So, Thomas has joined us recently at Intel, joined the Intel Public Sector team. Another great hire. We've hired quite a few former military that had just brought so much depth to our team. And Thomas, you were in the Army, Lieutenant, Lieutenant General. Tell us a little bit about your background.
And so the you know, the audience can get to know you a little bit well. So, Darren I joined the Army back in 1983 after I had got my bachelor's degree in the great state of Washington and I when I when I joined when I joined the Army, you know, we were going through the country was going through some some tough economic times. And, you know, I come from a military family.
My father served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars in the United States Air Force. And I basically graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in finance, thought I was going to have this blossoming career in the private sector. Things are pretty tough. So I quickly realized that living back at home with my mom and dad and sleeping in the same bed I did when I was 12 years old, was not what I had aspired to do with my life. So I sought out the military and I joined, went to basic training and then officer candidate school and started a career that I thought was going to be about 3 to 5 years long. And it turned out to be 39 years of service. Wow.
So, I mean, I just recently retired last year, as you said, as a three star lieutenant general. I did a lot of work in the field, artillery as a younger officer in combat, our field. And then at about year 18, I became a controller and served in that capacity for the final 20 years or so of my life with my final position being the Comptroller of the Army. And I retired out of that position here just about a year ago today. It was the 1st of October, a year ago. And so love the Army loved serving.
You know, a lot of people come up and thank you for my service, but I just like to tell everybody I was the lucky one to get to wear the uniform and serve our country for as long as I did. Well, I'm going to I'm going to echo what many other people have said. And thank you very much for your dedication to to our country and serving today.
Yeah. We want to talk a little bit today about supply chain. And because you were the controller, the the Army, you know a lot about supply chain. You know a lot about. You know. About I mean, if I say so, you know, a lot more than I do.
And and also, we've got this chip sack that was recently passed. Tell can you tell the audience a little bit about how the chip sac plays with our national security and with our Department of Defense? Yeah. So for me, I would tell you as I joined. So let me just back up for a second, Daryn, and tell you, you know, as a as a retired guard and I knew I didn't want to be retired and just stay at home, and I did want to pursue a second career.
But I wanted something that was really meaningful. I wanted I wanted to get with a good organization that had a really a meaningful mission, great people. And I would tell you, I struck gold.
I absolutely struck gold when I got a phone call from Greg Clifton, which started the process of me being able to join the One Intel team. And what a privilege, what a pleasure. I would tell you, I absolutely love it. And I would tell you, you know, it's it's such a great opportunity for me to continue to contribute and to serve our fellow countrymen. I can tell you, I wouldn't have said this 30 years ago, but I think it's in my DNA now that I want to do that.
And I would just tell you, being with Intel, I just I love every day great teammates. What a fantastic culture that this organization has and fantastic leaders. And I really consider myself fortunate. But, you know, I guess what I tell you is it does not surprise me after these six or seven months that I've been with this team as to why Intel is an iconic industry leader. And so I really I really consider myself fortunate. And what I really inspires me is that Intel plays is fundamental role in everybody's everyday lives, not just day to day.
I mean, you can't get up in the morning without some kind of microelectronics right there at your every move. But it's also that we get an opportunity to influence the future of our country, the future of the world and our children's future. And so I guess what I tell you is and you're going to laugh when I say this, but I would just say, how wonderful was that? Oh, there you go, Pat. Pat will be ecstatic that you tied Our Lady our newest branding in.
Right. How wonderful that. That's awesome. So. I would tell you, you know, I'm excited. I love this. But it's so interesting when I think back over my life and I think now it's not that I'm this old man, but when I think back over my life and you and I are about the same, probably about the same age.
Yeah. When I joined the army there. When I joined the army, we didn't have computers. We didn't have we probably had microelectronics, but it was such in a an embryonic stage.
It was probably in just a very remote pocket of our society or in the world. I can remember as a young man, you know, our copying machine was this ink drum that you used to crank and remember notes, roll it. And it would spill on this piece of paper. And that's how that's how you made copies? Yeah, we had single channel radios. We used to connect wire from one radio to the other.
And, you know, today we talk about microchips. But back then, my big worry as a young officer was, did I have enough these cell batteries to operate the radios? So when you think about how far we have evolved and I would tell you, of course, my profession was in the United States military, but I would tell you all segments of society just kind of evolved together as we discovered these this wonderful thing called silicon and all of our technological advances. But, you know, I remember the days of I remember the day one of my first duty assignments in South Korea. And I remember we used to sit there on Sundays and go to this this building where AT&T had these booths, and we'd get in line and we'd wait for the booths.
And I think you had like 10 minutes and you could make a stateside phone call and we'd get in the booth. We call them mom and dad, or our loved ones would say, Hey, it's me, I'm here, everything is okay, and that was the extent of telecommunications back in those days. And now, of course, we sit here today and we just speed dial on our on our cell phone and. Get a video call. Yeah. And it's a video call. Around the world.
So it's absolutely amazing. And you heard me joke about this. So people like you and me, you. And I remember when we got our first computer. Oh, yeah. I remember the day.
You and I are digital immigrants. Okay? We are not digital natives. We're. We're older than that. But I remember the day that I bought my first computer was probably around 1995 and I bought a 286 and I thought to myself, Good God, look at this monstrosity. And for some of you out there, this isn't like a box you could very easily put in the back seat of your car.
Okay, this thing was huge. It weighed £50. You bought a monitor. It was deeper than it was wide.
That one weighed about £50. You took it home and you asked yourself the question, oh, my goodness, where do I put this thing? Right. So here we are 30 years later and we're not saying, Oh my goodness, where do we put this thing? We scratch your head and we say, Oh my gosh, where did I put that thing? Yeah, so I have a question about that. So we've become highly dependent on silicon, highly dependent on technology as as a society.
Is the military just as highly dependent on silicon? Oh, absolutely. So I mean. I mean, that's a big deal then, because our our supply chain around microelectronics is now highly important. It's a national security issue. So I like to tell people we have evolved.
So to the point where the market we're microelectronics shares center stage with the oil industry as a center of gravity when it comes to national security, global security, economic stability. I mean, it is replete across every fiber of society. You know, when you talk about you hear our CEO talk about it ubiquitous compute, well, it touches everything. So and when when you talk about the military, I would tell you, our vehicles, our weapons systems are all microelectronics enabled.
Micro microchips enable us to be more precise, more lethal, less weight, faster, fix a more accurate locating system, better and more reliable communications. The list goes on and on. I mean. Well, and we're seeing that actually in the war in Ukraine right now. Oh, absolutely. Right.
I mean, it's amazing that the Ukraine's been able to do what they've been able to do because of microelectronics. Lots of takeaways and lots of great things to learn about by seeing how how that unfolds. They're over there in Ukraine with the conflict, with Russia. So I have a question around that.
Do you think that really spurred on this chip act that we see that was recently passed and so why were so concerned about getting the Chips Act passed? So I know not necessarily the Ukraine conflict. No, but just in general, our dependency. Of the Chips Act was was considered necessary long before that.
But certainly when you step back and you look at the global imbalance that we currently are experiencing across the ecosystem, you know, I think and and let me read catch my answer. So let's talk about national security for just a second. Okay.
So I've been a student of national security my entire career. That's what we do as professional military officers. But when when you talk about national security, a lot of people want to immediately migrate to a discussion about defense and the role of the armed forces.
But I would tell you, in a country like ours, if you want to talk about how do you ensure that you protect our national security interest, there are a lot of things that go into that, Darren. It's good governance, the rule of law. It's a proper and functioning economy. It's having an effective academia, its health care, and of course, it is the armed forces of the United States. So what I would tell you is our doctors, our teachers are construction workers, firemen, police officers, intel engineers. Big shout out to them, right. All right.
And just about almost all of our professions across American society all play a role in providing for the national security this country. We don't think about it like that, but I really. Don't. I like that perspective.
But imagine an America that doesn't have a good education system or a good health care system or a good law enforcement system. Right. Imagine an America like that that would that would directly impact our national security. So when you talk about that, you got to talk about it in a more holistic way.
And so for me personally, you know what I think about the Chips Act. If you share in what I just told you, then you'll understand that just about every fiber of what it takes to provide for the national security of this country relies on microelectronics. Yeah, it relies on microelectronics very heavily in that lovely thing we call silicon. I tell you what, I wish I would have gotten involved in this back 35 years ago. It must have just been so neat to watch.
Oh, yeah, yeah. Watch these amazing minds and these engineers come up with how how they were able to do that. I'm just I'm inspired by it, to be honest. So now now when you when you talk about the Chips Act, right. And this this incredible imbalance that we have across the ecosystem, across, you know, our microelectronics industry, I kind of look at this over a broader continuum, a continuum of time. Right. This has amazing potential.
And it absolutely does have an impact on the national security of our country. And so much so we even had some of the leaders in the Department of Defense actually engaged with Congress about the importance of the chipset. So it's a very important, in my view, very important first step. Okay. This is not the be to how we redistribute this this this balance of capacity and capability in the microelectronics industry.
I rolled up my sleeves and started learning about this and what I discovered and I had I'm tell you right now, I absolutely no idea things are like this even a year ago. But what I discovered is what an incredibly integrated industry this is. And you and I talked about this before, but one day your competitor is company X and the very next day they're your partner. Right.
And when you try to unpack the what I like to call the continuum or what we call the the the core activities of the microelectronics industry, whether it's design or manufacturing or it's assembly testing and packaging, and who makes the equipment and where the raw materials come from. And where does the rare earth elements come from? When you start to when you start to unpack is that you start to realize what an incredible mosaic of daily activity this is and why it's so difficult. Why it's so difficult to have this very clear shaped picture on all of the activity that takes place. I mean, so and so these microchips change hands five and ten times, right? Yeah. So I'm glad you brought this up because.
Yeah, because what's interesting about this whole thing is and you mentioned it, no one really understood how complex the supply chain is to build a computer right now. Just telco grid hit because what COVID exposed when everyone needed a computer all of a sudden and then some factories were shut down in Malaysia because they had an outbreak of COVID or a factory in Ireland, because there was an outbreak of COVID or China or wherever it was. All of a sudden, I can't ship a car because it doesn't have a chip in it. Or you can and it sits in a parking lot until those ships come in. Right, exactly. So I think COVID really kind of exposed this global supply chain.
How complex and fragile it really is. Yeah, it's certainly I mean, maybe certain segments of the industry in our society knew that there was this this. Very small, I think idea. But I think very small.
And I think you're right that the pandemic kind of exposed that, you know. But so right now I would tell you and exposed I had no idea about the global imbalance that we currently have. Yeah.
What is it, 8% in the US, 8% of us is manufactured in the US. And yeah, I've heard different numbers, but I think ballpark is we're talking 70, 70 and 80% of the microelectronics come out of Southeast Asia. And you know, that's fundamentally three countries, China, South Korea and Taiwan and Taiwan. Yeah.
When you when you start to learn about that, you you quickly realize that rebalancing the ecosystem of the global supply chain and returning capacity and capability to U.S. and friendly soil is absolutely tantamount to being able to rebalance what we have. No industry should have single points of failure. Like I think this microelectronics industry definitely has some areas where there is cause for concern.
But but I'll tell you, it's exciting, right? And it's refreshing because what I've been observing is I've been observing the ecosystem, the federal government, the defense industrial base, all of them are starting to recognize this problem. You know, the CHIPS Act is is obviously representative of people's recognition that we had to do something. And I also would tell you, you know, watching the other the big companies in this industry that are now saying, hey, you know, we need to relook our business model and where we have certain things done across this continuum of of that that that microelectronics ecosystem that we have, we need to relook that we're starting to see.
And I think the chip jacket kind of helped helped with this. But we're starting to see I know of six countries right now that have said they are going to be investing in fabs in the on on US soil here in the in the next 8 to 10 years. So. Well in one of those of course, is Intel. Let's talk a little bit about Ohio, but not just Ohio and Silicon Heartland now, but Arizona and New Mexico. It's amazing the amount of fabs we're building right now. Sure. Sure.
There are the investment that we put in and what it means to those economies. You know, what it means to opportunities of young of young kids who really want to have some kind of a profession in the microelectronics industry. Read the masticating capacity and capabilities in the United States of America gives. You know, it's what you the United the United States is really birth upon is opportunity. Right. And so to give them that opportunity, it's just another great, great thing about taking this just making this effort to read The Master Key, much of much of the microelectronics industry here in the U.S.
and friendly so. Well and let's talk a little bit about Ohio. Ohio, we're building two fabs right now, already cut.
Ground right back. With a plan to build eight fabs. Isn't that exciting? It's exciting. Each fab is $15 billion.
That's a man. That's a lot of money. That's a big. Money between 12 and 15 billion and. Right. And the number of jobs it's going to bring into the area, not just hired by Intel, but also. Other.
Industries that are moving there as well to support. That whole community. Right.
I mean, that I saw this Darren. I saw this with military installations. Okay. Oh, yeah. A lot of times the the surrounding city or community, you know, lived and breathed by what happened on that military installation, the size of the population, the infrastructure that was there.
I absolutely see that. A similar thing happening with with, you know, what's going to happen there, the new silicon heartland like it. This is this is really fascinating that it's come to this point I guess that we maybe we were lulled to sleep a little bit in as far as, you know, manufacturing in the United States. But I think we're well, I think I think we woke up.
Yeah, I would say I don't think anybody ever said, all right, here's the plan. We're going to have a global economy and 80% of all the microelectronics are going to come out of these three countries. So I don't I don't think that was ever the intent.
And so which brings me to a point. And I even heard our CEO kind of say it in Eastern. We're a bit in a race against time.
That's why the Chips Act was so fundamentally important. Right, was to have this infusion of capital investment, to be able to start to build these fabs and to re domesticate our capacity in the United States on a shorter timeline than what would otherwise have been. You know, who knows how long it would have taken this to build the size of the fab or fabs that you just described there in in the silicon heartland in Ohio? Yeah. In fact, what's really cool about those fabs going in, they are 18 angstrom fabs that are going in. So those that don't know, that's 1.8 nanometers.
Those are the nodes that are going in and 1.8 nanometers that's really small. To put that into perspective, for a lot of people, the corona virus is 72 nanometers wide and we're doing transistors at 1.8 nanometers. It's like fabs that's that's mind blowing. That's unimaginable.
I know. It's so for those of you that think that, you know, Intel is, is an old non innovative company, you don't know what you're talking about. Yeah I tell you what, I never thought that for 1/2. You know, there are some people that do I it's it's amazing the stuff that the stuff that we do every day. Yeah so there and therein lies a good a good point though is being able or having people understand the full capacity and the full capabilities of a company like Intel. You know, we describe it as this iconic founder of microelectronics, but what they do today is it's just as impressive as what we used to do, you know, 30 plus years ago at the beginning of this this the building of the of the of the microelectronics industry.
So, you know, it's it's really important for people to step back and take a look at that. I mean, what is we have 20,000 software and hardware engineers in this company. No, just just 20. 25,000 software engineers.
Well, software. Okay, just software. If you start adding our hardware and silicon engineers. Yeah, it's absolutely it's absolutely amazing. And you know, I see that and I hear that. And I think to myself, yeah. Do people realize just how not just how important that is to, you know, the country, but to the world, right.
To the world and to, you know, those things that I spoke about earlier, our national security, global security and stability of our markets, that is so fundamentally important. That's why I'm so inspired and why I'm so happy to have the opportunity to to, you know, be on the Intel team and hopefully contribute. Oh, believe me, we're so glad to have you on team because you bring in such a new perspective that's helping us to sell at a higher level, to really talk about bigger picture things and to drive new ideas into our technology. So,
you know, Thomas, welcome to the team. It's been wonderful. Yeah. What? What a treat. I tell you what.
I tell you what you know, when when after you have a career like I did in the military. And you want to join you want to join another team and you want to keep serving and you want to keep contributing. I tell you, I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity, a better next chapter right in my life, and to be able to do something like this and and serve with everybody. I'm just so inspired by the leaders that I get to work with. Wow.
I mean. Yeah, there's some really good we got some really good guys. Really good leadership.
And you know what I feel like. So me being the digital immigrant here, I like, I like the culture and I like the people and the patience they show me when I scratch my head. When you start talking about Nano this and see on that, you know, I really I really appreciate everybody, you know, with open arms and coming to terms.
Let me let me teach you this. And it's really it's really a great it's really it's really great from from beginning to end. I'm just really fortunate to be able to do this. I couldn't have ever imagined having a better a better opportunity than this.
So thanks. Thanks. A thanks to all the leaders and everybody there. Well, hey, Thomas, thanks for coming on the show today. It's been very insightful and thanks again. I'm sure we'll have you back on in in six months or a year.
And you're going to be like a total silicon expert. You'll be here, you'll be design in chips by that time. Yeah. Hey, Darren. So before we before we kick off, I did what I didn't want to make just a final comment, if that's okay with you. Yeah, yeah. You know what the other thing I, I, you know, there's there's this this is front microelectronics is front and center right now in a lot of discussions.
Right. And I would tell you, one of the things I find really refreshing and is that it is front and center in a lot of different forums, in defense forums. Right, in discussions about national security.
And so that really makes that really makes me it makes me feel good, right, to know that more and more every day we start to see not just the country's leadership, but all of the all of the professions recognize just how fundamentally important the microelectronic industry is to all of these professions. I mean, think about think about something like telemedicine. Think about think about, you know, I have a daughter in college, right? My daughter during the pandemic, she continued to attend college.
How did she do that? I tell you what, she did it virtually through through her computer. So, I mean, when you when you step back and you think about all of that. Well, what I'm really I'm really refreshed and I'm really happy about is, you know, and I'm really assured that that everybody is is has really put their arms around this thing and recognize just how fundamentally important that it is to to our country and to the world that you have a functioning ecosystem in the microelectronics industry. I tell you, that is tantamount tantamount to our national security and global security. And so I feel pretty good as I'm learning more and more, but I feel pretty good what I what I've seen a lot of people a lot of people do to recognize and to take action when it comes to the microelectronics industry.
So I really wanted to just kind of leave the conversation on that point that we should feel good about what everybody is trying to do. Oh, no, I totally agree. I see a bright horizon ahead and some really, really cool new innovation that's going to drive a lot of changes in in the world. And we get the cool thing, Thomas. We get to be part of it.
Oh, no, I know. Isn't that awesome? I'm I just. Yeah, I'm pinching myself, you know, it's a great it's great feeling.
So, so sure. Thank you. Just thank you from the bottom of my heart for having me. And not just for this podcast, but the the know the numerous than the numerous times that I've been able to attend some of your training events or you just coach me on the side. I really appreciate that. It means a lot to me.
Well, like I said, thank you for coming on the show and welcome to the team. We're glad you're here. You. You only make us better. So thank you for listening to Embracing Digital Transformation today. If you enjoyed our podcast, give it five stars on your favorite podcast insider YouTube channel. You can find out more information about embracing digital transformation and embracingdigital.org until next time, go out and do something wonderful.