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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A global shortage of semiconductors has everyone from gamers to global auto giants struggling to get the chips they need. Governments, too, see the issue as strategic and are trying to figure out how they can improve the situation.

Why it matters: Chips serve as the brains of computer systems — without them, you just have a bunch of components. And right now, demand is exceeding supply.

Driving the news: The U.S. is looking into what role it can play in improving the situation, the White House said Thursday, including a planned executive order "to undertake a comprehensive review of supply chains for critical goods."

  • Graphic chip maker Nvidia said it will free up a supply of older-model chips to help meet demand.
  • Chip trade group the Semiconductor Industry Association urged the government in a Thursday letter to fully fund chip investments authorized in the last defense spending bill.

Between the lines: As we’ve noted frequently in Axios Login, chips are one of the few strategic high-tech products made in the U.S.

  • Investing in domestic chip manufacturing could ease the ongoing shortage while also creating jobs and decreasing reliance on overseas factories.

Go deeper: Why Intel's troubles should concern us all

Go deeper

Biden threatens new sanctions against Ethiopian officials over Tigray conflict

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order allowing the Treasury and State Departments to impose sanctions against Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict" in the Tigray region.

Driving the news: Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions in Tigray, but less than 10 percent of the needed humanitarian supplies has reached the region over the last month "due to the obstruction of aid access" by the Ethiopian government, according to Biden administration officials.

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.

The consumer's massive "war chest"

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Economists expect the pace of economic growth to cool off now that government transfer payments like stimulus checks and emergency unemployment benefits are in the rearview mirror. But evidence suggests that the U.S. consumer is sitting on a lot of financial firepower that could be a key driver of growth in the quarters to come.

Why it matters: U.S. consumer spending is massive, representing about 70% of GDP.