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Cablegate: Munich Consular Leadership Day at Infineon

VZCZCXRO5973
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHMZ #0059 0431454
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121454Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL MUNICH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4278
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MUNICH 000059

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: CMGT GM
SUBJECT: MUNICH CONSULAR LEADERSHIP DAY AT INFINEON

REF: (07) STATE 152284

1. Summary. The themes of Munich's 2008 Consular Leadership Day
were the CA Leadership Tenets "Learn Constantly" and "Build Great
Teams." On January 30 we traveled together to Regensburg, about 90
minutes from Munich, where the German semiconductor company Infineon
manufactures the electronic chips used in U.S. passports. In
addition to touring the factory and watching the chips being
processed and inserted into the blue U.S. passport covers, the
regional newspaper interviewed and photographed the consular chief
to produce an article highlighting the themes of travel security and
German-American business ties. Munich's consular team is stronger
and better-informed as a result of this year's Consular Leadership
Day. End Summary.

2. Munich is the headquarters of Infineon (motto: "Never Stop
Thinking"), a German company in the semiconductor and security
industry which has the sole source contract for the manufacture of
electronic chips in U.S. passports. The chips are processed in
Regensburg, a city about 90 minutes from Munich. Infineon was
delighted to organize a visit for our consular section and rolled
out the red carpet for us. We traveled together by van to
Regensburg, and our program began with a presentation and briefing
by Infineon executives on the development of chip technology and
applications in their many projects producing secure travel
documents in Europe and North America. In addition to electronic
passports they produce electronic national ID cards, credit and
debit cards with chips and are developing electronic drivers
licenses and European health cards.

3. After the overview the consular section staff changed into
protective clothing and caps for our tour of the sterile environment
of the chip production assembly line. We saw chips being sliced,
diced, ground, "bumped," and checked for quality and uniformity. We
saw how chips were removed from their round wafers onto long strips
and finally from the strips into passport backing. The highlight
was to watch our blue U.S. passport covers move along the assembly
line, be fitted with chips and then loaded into boxes for shipment
to the GPO where the gold lettering on the front would be added and
the paper pages inserted. We all appreciated the irony of the fact
that some of the passport books would eventually return to Germany
from NPC in the form of individual passport documents.

4. After the briefing and tour, we posed for a group photo and the
consular chief was interviewed by the regional newspaper about our
visit. Our day-long field trip was informative and enjoyable.
Staff appreciated the insight into the private sector and the high
tech world of chip technology which we see every day in the form of
our new electronic U.S. passports. Fostering a sense of pride in
our work, we received an insider's view of the future of secure
travel documents. In addition, our escape from the routine of the
office was a valuable opportunity to get to know one another better
and to build a stronger consular team.

Nelson

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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