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Programs for Business

NSA offers a wide variety of programs and opportunities designed to allow companies to partner with NSA.

Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO)

Points of Contact:

TAPO Office

The Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO) was established to provide guaranteed access for the DoD and the Intelligence Community to trusted microelectronics technologies for their critical system needs now and into the future.

Trusted: The Meaning
Trust is defined as " the confidence in one's ability to secure national security systems by assessing the integrity of the people and processes used to design, generate, manufacture, and distribute national security critical components." -- Michael Wynne Acting USD AT&L (27 January 2004)

Recent DOD policy (DODI 5200.44) has been released which further defines the protection of mission critical components within applicable systems by requiring all custom integrated circuit-related products be procured from a trusted supplier.

TAPO provides the DOD and the Intelligence Community a trusted supplier path for:

  • Guaranteed access to trusted foundry suppliers for mission applications.
  • Ability to fabricate classified designs up to the secret level.
  • Access for low volume customers to leading edge technology.
  • Quick turnaround times for prototyping and production.
  • Technology support through industry partnership.

What the Trusted Foundries have to offer:

  • Accreditation of Trusted Suppliers, with the list available at the DMEA website. Potential customers should engage directly with the listed suppliers (except IBM) for all services.
  • Through TAPO, a contractual relationship with IBM to produce leading-edge microelectronics parts in a trusted environment. IBM maintains world-class facilities in both Vermont and New York, providing a broad range of capabilities to the government in support of the Trusted Foundry contract.

Who can use TAPO services?

Any government-sponsored program can use TAPO to access the IBM Trusted Foundry:

  • DoD Sponsored Programs may qualify for subsidized pricing on specific MPW runs, provided funding is available.
  • Other government agencies will need to provide full funding for access.
  • Contractors working on IR&D projects may access the foundry provided they have a government sponsor.

What services are available?

Through industry partnership at IBM, TAPO offers:

  • Foundry Services including Multi Project Wafer runs, dedicated prototypes, and production in both high- and low-volume models.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) development, including standard prepurchased IP.
  • Packaging and test services.
  • Custom Logic Service: Cu-08, Cu-65HP, Cu-45HP, and Cu-32.

Foundry Services:

TAPO offers several production options in the foundry business area depending on the schedule and the quantity desired. Designs up to the secret level are accepted.

  • Multi Project Wafer (MPW) Prototyping - MPW prototype runs have multiple designs on a single reticle and are targeted to customers in need of low volume with no production quantities.
  • Dedicated Prototype is a dedicated single design prototype run that includes the mask build. IBM guarantees a minimum of two wafers will be delivered to the customer.
  • Production phase produces unlimited chip quantities, following a successful prototype phase.

Custom Logic Services:

TAPO now has a contract in place for IBM's commercial Custom Logic flow on digital chips. The customer provides a netlist of RTL hand off and IBM will do the physical layout, package, design, and GDSII generation, and provides tested packaged parts. Design submissions are accepted in Cu-08 Cu-65HP, Cu-45HP, and Cu-32. IBM's Custom Logic methodology is also available for classified designs.

Intellectual Property:

TAPO has bought pre-paid access to certain roadmap IP that it makes available to customers on an as-needed basis. A complete list of available IP can be obtained from TAPO. IP orders can also be placed for existing IBM IP, custom IP, and certain non-IBM IP.

Contact Information:
All requests for services through the Trusted Foundry should start at the TAPO web site. Visitors to the website can create a new account, and after account verification, can submit new requests for service. All customer request forms submitted to the TAPO office must be approved by a government program manager before any action will be taken. Please use the "Contact Us" tab on the website with any additional questions.