The Scalable Asymmetric Lifecycle Engagement (SCALE) program is the nation’s preeminent workforce development effort, funded by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Trusted and Assured Microelectronics program and managed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.

SCALE has a mission to bolster next-generation workforce development to bring the United States back to prominence in global microelectronics research and manufacturing. SCALE is the preeminent U.S. program for semiconductor workforce development in the defense sector.

In late August, Purdue University announced that the SCALE microelectronics workforce development program received more than $19 million in funding from the Department of Defense to strengthen existing efforts in key research areas and to add new academic partners. The second installment of the DoD’s funding enhances efforts in areas including radiation-hardened microelectronics and trusted artificial intelligence and expands student training, continuing education, and dissemination. It includes $3.8 million for Purdue, $5 million for Indiana University, and $1.6 million for Vanderbilt University (Figure 1).


At Purdue University, the SCALE program — directed by Peter Bermel, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering — connects Purdue Engineering faculty with 14 other universities, the DOD, NASA, Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) labs, and the defense industry to create a microelectronics workforce focused on meeting national security requirements.

Led by Purdue University, funded by the DoD, and managed by NSWC Crane, SCALE facilitates a different approach to training highly skilled U.S. microelectronics engineers, hardware designers, and manufacturing experts, ensuring U.S. leadership in this important area.

SCALE provides unique courses, mentoring, internship matching, and targeted research projects for college students interested in five microelectronics specialty areas: radiation-hardening, heterogeneous integration/advanced packaging, system-on-a-chip (SoC), embedded system security/trusted AI, and supply chain awareness. SCALE provides both introductory and advanced microelectronics in these areas.

Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in SCALE get mentoring, internship, and research opportunities at leading companies, universities, and federal research organizations that are part of the network.

SCALE Partners

SCALE engages with more than 70 public-private partners, including universities, government agencies and organizations, and industry partners including:

University Partners

  • Air Force Institute of Technology
  • Arizona State University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Colorado-Boulder
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University
  • Morgan State University
  • New Mexico State University
  • Notre Dame University
  • Ohio State University
  • Purdue University (Lead)
  • Saint Louis University
  • SUNY-Binghamton
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • University of Florida
  • Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Vanderbilt University
  • MIT Lincoln Labs
  • Draper Labs

 Government Partners

  • Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC)
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Command (AFNWC)
  • Air Force Research Lab-Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV)
  • Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA)
  • Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
  • Naval Research Laboratories
  • NSWC-Crane
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering – Trusted & Assured Microelectronics Program [OUSD T&AM]
  • Sandia National Laboratory
  • Space Systems Command (SSC)
  • U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Program
  • U.S. Air Force & Air Force Materiel Command
  • U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command
  • White Sands Missile Range (SVAD)

Industry Partners

  •  Analog Devices
  • Applied Materials
  • BAE Systems
  • Boeing Corporation
  • Calumet Electronics
  • Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions
  • General Dynamics
  • GlobalFoundries
  • IBM
  • TSMC
  • Integra Technologies
  • Intel
  • In-Q-Tel
  • Keysight
  • L3 Harris
  • Mercury Systems
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Renesas Electronics
  • SkyWater
  • TSMC

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Phil Garrou

Dr. Philip Garrou is a subject matter expert for DARPA and runs his consulting company…

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