January 08, 2024

New CNAS Report Creates Framework for “On-Chip Governance” for AI

Washington, January 8, 2024—Today, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), in collaboration with the Institute for AI Policy and Strategy, released a new report, Secure, Governable Chips: Using On-Chip Mechanisms to Manage National Security Risks from AI & Advanced Computing, by Onni Aarne, Tim Fist, and Caleb Withers.

The report introduces the concept of “on-chip governance,” detailing how security features on AI chips could help mitigate national security risks from the development of broadly capable dual-use AI systems while protecting user privacy. The report further offers a set of recommendations for U.S. policymakers:

  • The White House should establish a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) led interagency group via executive order to coordinate on-chip governance policy.
  • The Commerce Department should create commercial incentives for chip firms to improve AI chip security using advance market commitments.
  • NIST should coordinate with government funding bodies to scope, fund, and support crucial AI chip security R&D in academic and private labs.
  • The Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security should establish an AI chip red-teaming program and flexible export licensing policies to support a staged rollout of on-chip governance mechanisms.
  • The Departments of State and Commerce should coordinate with key allies in the AI hardware supply chain to develop shared policies and standards for on-chip governance.
  • Leading chip firms should move early to build and harden the additional security features required for robust on-chip governance.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the report authors, please contact Alexa Whaley at awhaley@cnas.org.

Technology & National Security

Secure, Governable Chips

Broadly capable AI systems, built and deployed using specialized chips, are becoming an engine of economic growth and scientific progress. At the same time, these systems also...

Read More


  • Onni Aarne

    Consultant, Institute for AI Policy and Strategy

    Onni Aarne is a contributing author to a CNAS report. He is a consultant with the compute governance team at the Institute for AI Policy and Strategy. He previously conducted ...

  • Tim Fist

    Senior Adjunct Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Tim Fist is a Senior Adjunct Fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS. His work focuses on the governance of artificial intelligence using compute/comp...

  • Caleb Withers

    Research Assistant, Technology and National Security Program

    Caleb Withers is a Research Assistant for the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS, supporting the center’s initiative on artificial intelligence safety and stabil...