Vital Infrastructure, Technology, And Logistics

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Personnel
  3. Workshops
  4. Hardware Security Symposium

Mission Statement

The Vital Infrastructure, Technology, and Logistics (VITAL) Center is dedicated to fostering and supporting comprehensive supply chain security as an integral part of all major US industries. Secure and resilient critical infrastructures will help the US maintain a strong national defense. As part of this mission, the VITAL Center works to:

  • Assess the evolving strengths and weaknesses of our nation’s critical infrastructure systems and technologies, and the supply chains they depend on.

  • Advance knowledge of critical infrastructure and supply chain security challenges and solutions across the US Government and industry to include policy makers, the Department of Defense, and the manufacturing industrial base.

  • Bridge the gap between commercial and defense supply chain security practices.

  • Strengthen policy to ensure continued security of our nation’s critical infrastructure and supply chains.

Protecting Our Critical Infrastructures

US critical infrastructures encompass highly visible sectors like transportation, water, and agriculture as well as less conspicuous sectors like energy, finance, and information technology (IT). If any of these infrastructures were attacked, whether by hostile nation-states or by non-state actors, it would have major negative impacts on our national security and the economic well-being of our country. Even less nefarious disruptions to the supply chain, caused by inclement weather for example, are increasingly worrisome as the global economy becomes more intertwined and interdependent.

Due to the number, scale, and complexity of these sectors, no one entity can tackle the issue of critical infrastructure vulnerability alone. Both government and industry have a shared interest in the continued stability of domestic infrastructures and their global supply chains and are thus natural allies in the efforts to secure these systems. Through improved communication and strategic planning, industry and government entities can combine and coordinate efforts in comprehensively securing critical infrastructures.

The DCIP defines the following 16 sectors as critical based on their influence on the nation’s economic health and security: chemicals, commercial facilities, communications, manufacturing, dams, defense, emergency services, energy, finance, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare, information technology (IT), nuclear facilities, transportation, and water. The number of sectors considered vital to the US is simply too great to be managed by one office of the federal government, or even by the federal government alone. Taken together, the 16 critical sectors identified by the DoD account for thousands of companies, millions of jobs, and billions of dollars of revenue changing hands across the country. The only effective way to provide comprehensive critical infrastructure protection is through a coordinated effort, both among government agencies and between government and industry. The VITAL Center aims to bridge the gap between government and industry security efforts by connecting diverse stakeholders from both worlds, creating a community of interest to create more comprehensive mechanisms of action for critical infrastructure protection.

Mike Fritze

Dr. Fritze is a Vice President at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies responsible for the Microelectronics Policy portfolio.  His current interests and activities include USG trusted access strategies, support of needed legacy technologies, DOD innovation policy and outreach to Industry and strengthening the US Microelectronics Industrial Base.  He is also the Director of the VITAL Center (Vital Infrastructure Technology And Logistics) at Potomac.

Dr. Fritze was the Director of the Disruptive Electronics Division at the USC Information Sciences Institute. (2010-2015). He also held a Research Professor appointment in the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering (Electrophysics).  His research interests at ISI included Trusted Electronics, CMOS Reliability & Robustness, Low power 3DIC enabled electronics and Rad-hard electronics.  He was a Program Manager at the DARPA Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) from 2006-2010.  While at DARPA, Dr. Fritze was responsible for Programs in the areas of 3D Integrated Circuits (3DIC), Steep-Subthreshold-slope Transistors (STEEP), Radiation Hardening by Design (RHBD), Carbon Electronics for RF Applications (CERA), Silicon-based RF (TEAM), Ultra-low power Digital (ESE), Highly regular designs (GRATE) and Leading-edge foundry access (LEAP).

Prior to joining DARPA, Dr. Fritze was a staff member from 1995-2006 at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he worked on fully-depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) technology development with an emphasis on novel devices. Particular interests included highly scaled, tunneling-based, and ultra-low power devices. Dr. Fritze also worked in the area of silicon-based integrated optics. Another research interest at Lincoln Laboratory was in the area of resolution-enhanced optical lithography and nanofabrication with particular emphasis on low volume technological solutions.

Dr. Fritze received a Ph.D. in Physics from Brown University in 1994, working in the area of compound semiconductor quantum well physics. He received a B.S. in Physics in 1984 from Lehigh University. Dr. Fritze is an elected member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi. He is a recipient of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service awarded in 2010.  He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and is active on the GOMAC Conference Program Committee as well as the NDIA Electronics Division Policy Group. Dr. Fritze has published over 75 papers and articles in professional journals and holds several U.S. Patents.


ChloeHiteChloe Hite is a Research Assistant in the Science and Technology Division. A recent graduate of Boston University, Chloe earned her B.A . in anthropology with a minor in economics. Before joining the PIPS, Chloe worked as an intern at the Hudson Institute, studying the proliferation and mitigation of nuclear, biological, and chemical WMD threats. She has also contributed to research efforts focused on how technological innovation impacts the economy and society at large, including research assessing technology’s place in education and the arts. Born and raised in the Midwest and influenced by parents in medical and agricultural professions, Chloe has witnessed firsthand the impact that S&T innovation and policy influence can have on both a micro and macro level.

Security Strategies for Global Supply Chains

On September 19, 2018, The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies VITAL Center hosted a seminar on, "Security Strategies for Global Supply Chains". Many industries critical to national security depend on supply chains that today are highly interconnected and global in reach. Attacks and other disruptions to these supply chains can have serious downstream consequences to our economy, infrastructure, and military capabilities. The U.S. government will need to find and implement new tools to identify, monitor, and neutralize threats to the supply chain and will need to eliminate or mitigate the effects of supply chain vulnerabilities. Keynote speaker at this seminar was Dr. Joye Purser, Deputy Director, Analysis and Innovation Division, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE). The panel included Chris Nissen, Director, Asymmetric Threat Response and Supply Chain Security, Special Concepts Group at the MITRE Corporation, and Dr. Tushar Misra, Vice President and Head of Global Oncology and Biologics Operations, Global Manufacturing and Supply, Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Inc. Dr. Michael Fritze of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and Director of the VITAL Center at the Potomac Institute moderated the discussion.

This seminar can be viewed at the link below.

A National Strategy for a Secure Microelectronics Supply Chain

On September 13, 2017, The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies VITAL Center cohosted a seminar with Venable LLP on, "National Strategy for a Secure Microelectronics Supply Chain". Microelectronics are key components in our defense systems, and assuring that they are both trusted and secure is critical for US national security. In today’s global electronics supply chain, hardware and software vulnerabilities are increasingly prevalent, and a whole-of-government solution is needed to ensure a long-term domestic capability. A solution must exist at every stage of the supply chain to include research and design; production; supply, stock, and store; and deployment. Speakers included: Mr. Terry Halvorsen, former DOD Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Officer at Samsung Worldwide; Mr. Ari Schwartz, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Cybersecurity, and Director of Cybersecurity Services at Venable; and Mr. J. Michael Daniel, President, Cyber Threat Alliance, and Former White House Cybersecurity Advisor.

This seminar can be viewed at the link below.

The Fast Approaching 5G Revolution: Disruptions and Opportunities

On June 6th, 2018, The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies VITAL Center cohosted a seminar with Venable LLP on “The Coming 5G Revolution”. Topics discussed included policy questions and recommended actions for the rapid adoption of a 5G network, with input from a distinguished panel of government and industry experts. Mr. Terry Halvorsen, Executive Vice President of Samsung and CIO/IT and Mobile B2G provided the keynote, with further input from representatives of Nokia, KMPG, Samsung, The Institute of Cyber Law, and Venable LLP. Dr. Michael Fritze of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and Director of the VITAL Center at the Potomac Institute moderated the discussion.

The seminar can be viewed at the link below.

Mike Sutherland, Defense Microelectronics Activity

On Thursday October 18th, 2018, the Potomac Institute hosted Mr. Mike Sutherland of Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA), who discussed the current state of X-Ray tomography, and its current use cases for imaging the internal structure of integrated circuits in 3 dimensions using a transmission X-Ray microscope. Mr. Sutherland presented data from both lab and synchrotron-based system approaches to demonstrate many of the benefits and limitations of using X-Ray tomography. Mr. Sutherland also discussed the emerging research and development efforts in the field.

Mr. Mike Sutherland has worked as a computer scientist at DMEA since 2014. He is currently the lead researcher there working on X-Ray microscope hardware and software to image the internal nature of integrated circuits. In addition to his work on X-Ray tomography, Mr. Sutherland also works on image analysis and machine learning efforts to analyze integrated circuits for reverse engineering purposes

Kevin Zawicki, Guardtime Federal

On Thursday August 16th 2018, the Potomac Institute hosted Mr. Kevin Zawicki of Guardtime Federal, who discussed alternative blockchain technologies for government applications. The promise of an immutable public trust anchor is a driving force behind the excitement to apply Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) blockchains to many business processes. Unfortunately, some key features of DLTs make them unattractive to, and potentially unusable for, certain customers. Fortunately, there are other "blockchain" technologies available that can be used to provide a desired immutable public trust anchor without some of the challenges associated with DLTs. Mr.Zawickidiscussed use cases showing how the Guardtime Federal Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) alternative blockchain effectively leverages a public trust anchor in a federated execution business process to allow distributed verification, assuring end-to-end integrity of the data, the business process, and even the product. You can view Mr. Zawicki’s presentation here.

Prior to joining Guardtime Federal in 2015, Mr.Zawickispent 20 years in various capacities working in acquisition for the DoD. He started as a program analyst at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, then moved to the Air Force's B-2 program. He began taking on System Administration duties for local networks and eventually transitioned to full-time IT support for the Directorate of Special Programs, Air Force Acquisition. For the last 12 years of his tenure, he served as the IT Lead for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

Mr.Zawickihas a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a Master of Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Michael Mehlberg, Rambus, Inc

On June 21st 2018, the Potomac Institute hosted Michael Mehlberg of Rambus, Inc. A growing avenue for gaining sensitive information from chips is the class of side channel attacks.  Attackers use available indirect signals, e.g. timing information and power consumption, from a chip to decipher cryptographic keys and/or learn other information being transmitted within the system being attacked.  Mr.Mehlbergdemonstrated how secret cryptography keys can be extracted from a mobile phone and FPGA by measuring the power consumption of those devices during decryption; an exploit publicly discovered by Cryptography Research in the late ‘90s.

MikeMehlbergleads the Business Development for Government and Defense at the Security Division and Cryptography Products Group for Rambus, Inc. in the Washington DC area. He has a bachelor of Computer Science from Purdue University and 15 years of experience securing weapons systems from tampering and reverse engineering exploits.

To view a demonstration of a side channel attack similar to the attack demonstrated by Mr. Mehlberg, please click here. To view slides relating to his presentation, please click here and here

Dr. Darryl Williams, Techsonomy LLC

On May 17, 2018, th Potomac Institute hosted Dr. Darryl William of Techsonomy LLC. Supply chain security is an integral piece of hardware security. Today's complicated global supply chain presents a wide range of entry points for adversaries to intercept critical information and physical components before they are inserted in DOD systems. Dr. Williams will provide an overview of the vulnerability landscape and possible approaches to advanced supply chain risk management tailored to the DOD's unique set of concerns.

Dr. Darryl R. Williams is recognized as one of the United States’ foremost experts on non-traditional supply chain vulnerability analysis, both attack and defense. For more than 27 years, Dr. Williams has been engaged by governments and the Fortune 500 to white hat the most secure and hardened supply chains in the world. In addition, he was the creator of the Partnership to Defeat Terrorism, an ad hoc group of global leaders in government, the private sector, and academia that use unique supply chain methodologies and Checkmate algorithms to address the most difficult national security issues plaguing the United States. Dr. Williams has sat on senior government advisory boards, led senior-level interagency working groups, and published articles on forensic vulnerability analysis and non-traditional supply chain attack and defense. As a career Air Force electronic warfare officer, he has more than 4000 hours in both the B-52 and RC-135. Dr. Williams is the co-founder and Chief Scientist of Techonomy LLC, a unique technology company primarily focused on creating tools capable of assessing, modeling, and monitoring any supply chain, from any vertical, anywhere in the world.

Mr. Jimmy Goodrich, Semiconductor Industry Association

On November 6, 2017, the Potomac Insitute hosted Mr. Jimmy Goodrich of Semiconductor Industry Association. Since 2014, the Chinese government has embarked on an ambitious effort to foster its indigenous semiconductor industry. This includes investing nearly $150 billion into domestic capacity expansion, the acquisition of overseas technology, and the attraction of critical talent and engineers. In this talk, Jimmy Goodrich will provide a detailed overview of Chinese semiconductor ambitions, their plans, and results to date in key segments such as logic technology, memory devices, and compound semiconductors. Furthermore, he will discuss efforts by the U.S. industry to maintain its competitiveness in light of developments in China.
Jimmy Goodrich is vice president for global policy at SIA. In this role, Jimmy works closely with SIA member companies, the Administration, Congress, domestic and international stakeholders, and foreign government officials to advance all aspects of SIA’s international policy agenda. Jimmy has nearly a decade of experience working with Chinese and global stakeholders on technology policy issues. He most recently served as Director of Global Policy at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), where he worked on a wide range of China and Asia-Pacific technology policy issues relating to cyber security, trade, standards, and Internet governance.

Travis Mosier, U.S. Department of Commerce - China’s Semiconductor Industry Policies

13 June 2017 – Mr. Travis Mosier is an international trade specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Office of Health and Information Technologies. Mr. Mosier researches and analyzes trade and investment issues affecting the U.S. semiconductor industry’s market access in China, and participates in negotiations with Chinese and other government officials on market access concerns and compliance. Mr. Mosier’s talk focused on China’s recent – and unprecedented – investments in its semiconductor industry. This included an overview of the global semiconductor market share and a breakdown of the semiconductor market. Mr. Mosier addressed the growth of the Chinese semiconductor industry, China’s semiconductor development plan, and recent Chinese semiconductor mergers and acquisitions activity. Concerns and challenges resulting from China’s recent semiconductor investments, as well as potential solutions, were highlighted in the discussion.

Janice Meraglia, Applied DNA Sciences - DNA-Based Authentication and Traceability

16 May 2017— Ms. Janice Meraglia is Vice President of Government and Military Programs at Applied DNA Sciences. She focuses on briefing federal agencies and leading industry associations to highlight the power and flexibility of solutions through SigNature® DNA, the core technology platform of Applied DNA Sciences. Applied DNA Sciences looks at ways of mitigating cyber-physical aspects of cyber-attacks through DNA taggant technologies. During her hardware symposium, Ms. Meraglia summarized the current products and capabilities that Applied DNA Sciences offers in providing reliable, accurate provenance and tracking tools for microelectronics components. Emphasis was placed on the technical advantages of using this DNA taggant technology in supply chain validation and authentication of microelectronics. Ms. Meraglia fielded a variety of questions focused on the technical components, the future of this technology, and government interaction with this industry.

Michael Liehr, SUNY Poly and AIM Photonics - Semiconductor Consortia

18 April 2017—Dr. Michael Liehr is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) of Integrated Photonics. He is also SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Vice President for Research and Operations Manager. AIM Photonics pursues a mission to establish a technology, business and education
framework for industry, government and academia to accelerate the transition of integrated photonic solutions from innovation to manufacturing-ready deployment in systems spanning commercial and defense applications. Dr. Liehr spoke on his experience in building positive partnerships between government, industry, and academia to accelerate technology transition. He summarized at a high level the current range of capabilities at the SUNY Poly site, the range of partnerships, agreements, and contracts that SUNY Poly operates with commercial and government entities, and shared his insights on lessons learned in managing AIM Photonics and running the research site in Albany. Dr. Liehr also answered questions focusing the future of SUNY Poly, the semiconductor industry, and government interaction with industry.

Bill Chappell, DARPA - A Technology Enabled New Trust Approach.

7 December 2016—Dr. William “Bill” Chappell is the Director of the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) at the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA). Dr. Chappell has served as director of MTO since June 2014, and in that time, has focused the office on three key areas; ensuring unfettered use of the electromagnetic spectrum, building an alternative business model for acquiring advanced trusted microelectronics, and developing circuit architectures for next-generation machine learning. The MTO office also invests in compact microelectronic components to include microprocessors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and photonic devices. In his talk, Dr. Chappell spoke about the evolving array of technologies for enhancing hardware security and trust. He also discussed MTO's role within DARPA, and current programs to ensure trusted and secure electronics.

Thomas Bergman, Battelle - This Is Battelle

19 October 2016—Mr. Thomas Bergman is a Program Manager in the Cyber Innovations business unit at Battelle, and is currently responsible for managing the development of Battelle Barricade. Mr. Bergman presented information on Battelle’s mission and history, and a product it has recently developed that has applications in testing chips for authenticity. Battelle has been developing and testing a technology to nondestructively classify electronic components as authentic or counterfeit the Barricade system. Currently, alternative effective detection methods require exhaustive testing of all component functionality, destructive analysis of test devices, or use of a specialized imaging technique. The Barricade technology developed at Battelle does not require integrated circuit design modifications, physical alterations to existing inventory, or any changes to electronic component manufacturing processes to perform the classification process. The technology uses a method that differentiates classes of devices from data acquired from their power consumption waveforms. The Barricade system is based on the concept of side channel power analysis, a technique that involves collecting unintentional or side channel emissions from a device. The collected data files are loaded into the Barricade classifier algorithm that performs the electronic component classification.

Paul Quintana, Microsemi - Microsemi Trusted FPGA Approach for Commercial Foundries

22 September 2016—Mr. Paul Quintana is the Director of Vertical Marketing for Defense, Security and Computing at the Microsemi Corporation. Paul Quintana spoke on Microsemi’s ongoing efforts to establish a supply chain flow for trusted FPGAs. In the past five years, Microsemi’s revenues have doubled and a significant portion of their business is in the Aerospace and Defense markets. Microsemi continues to be, however, a global company, sourcing a majority of their chips from UMC in Taiwan. Major points made during the lecture were the importance of trusted masks for Microsemi, as well as access to domestic fabrication facilities. Such concerns are becoming more important across multiple industries, since FPGAs are increasingly being embedded in different kinds of general CPU systems.

Paolo Gargini, Semi - Roadmap and Initiatives Past, Present and Future

8 June 2016—Mr. Paolo Gargini is the Chairman of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) at Semi as well as the head of the International EUV Initiative (IEUVI) and the International Consortia Cooperation Initiative (ICCI). His talk focused on the history and vision of the microelectronics over recent decades. He spent a long career at INTEL leading long-term R&D efforts, including their University funding activities. He also led the development of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), which since the mid-1990s has brought together representatives of every major global semiconductor company to plan R&D to continue driving the industry according to Moore’s Law. The last "conventional" ITRS Roadmap ended in 2013. It was realized that the future drivers will likely be the system companies looking for solutions for custom functionality. 3D technology (including heterogeneous integration) and programmable technology will be enabling players here. Based on his career, Gargini feels very strongly about the role of the USG in seeding pre-competitive longer term R&D. A major benefit is shortening the incubation time and lowering the perceived risk of new technologies. Industry is often reluctant to invest in research unless it is leveraged with other investments and they prefer to wait until something is proven to take it on for development. The IRDS “Roadmap 2.0” aligns with the new White House “National Strategic Computing Initiative” and Gargini expressed interest in working with that Initiative. He was not familiar with the Defense Department’s DIUX.

Robert Patti, Tezzaron Semiconductor

27 May 2016—Mr. Robert Patti is the Chief Technology Officer and Acting Vice President of Production at Tezzaron Semiconductor. Tezzaron Semiconductor is a leader in "More-than- Moore" technology development, and incorporates innovative solutions including 3D and 2.5D technology platforms to enable advanced performance. Tezzaron's primary product is 3D memory, which they use as a novel architecture enabler. Additionally, Novati Technologies, a wholly owned fabrication subsidiary of Tezzaron, has extensive experience with back-end-the-line processing, and offers split manufacturing for their customers. Mr. Patti’s presentation laid out the range of processes based on split fabrication in which his company specializes, and emphasized their advantages in providing trust and process diversity for the end user. A major takeaway from the presentation and resulting discussion is that a major way for adversaries to identify and exploit zero day threats is to obtain circuit design layouts of technologies, and that this is a real, existing threat. The talk also went into detail about how split fab processes provide many options for obfuscating circuit design and for testing the FEOL layers to guarantee they have not been tampered with.

Jonathan Graf, Graf Research - FPGA Trust: Threats, Methods, Metrics, and Optimization

2 May 2016—Mr. Jonathan Graf is the founder of Graf Research, a defense research and development organization. Graf Research company conducts research on DoD contracting, performs technology consulting, and develops technical training guides for external organizations. Mr. Graf gained experience in the realm of trust for FPGAs working on two DARPA programs (TRUST and IRIS) while at Luna Innovations and MacAuley Brown. The work entailed reverse engineering FPGA programming using the bitstream and minimal other information. The focus of the lecture and following discussion was the security of FPGAs for the DoD. As FPGAs solidify their ubiquity in DoD systems, ensuring their trustworthy operation is becoming a critical priority for DoD system designers. Hardware Trojans may enter the FPGA during the design cycle of the FPGA programming file, either via a direct manipulation of a design file, through a malicious EDA tool, or via modified 3rd-Party IP. Mr. Graf’s talk reviewed those entry points into the design, as well as a variety of methods that have been developed to detect the presence of FPGA trojans. Metrics for measuring the efficacy of those tools were also presented.

Michael Strizich, MicroNet Systems - State of the Art Reverse Engineering Challenges

23 March 2016—Mr. Michael Strizich is the President and CEO of MicroNet Solutions, Inc. Formed in 2013, MicroNet Solutions Inc was the R&D Division of its legacy company, Analytical Solutions Inc (ASI). MSI focuses on security analysis, Pix2Net Circuit Extraction Software, reverse engineering of complex integrated circuits, and anti-tamper and design analysis. The topic of the discussion was reverse engineering. Reverse engineering tools and software are becoming more sophisticated and advanced with time. Examples of future of state-of-the-art extraction tools used to either verify existing designs, or model unknown designs, were presented. Also included were examples of microcode extraction.



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Our Mission

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.


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