U.S. Military Tools to Prevent Counterfeit Electronics


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By now, it should come as no surprise to those who are involved in electronics procurement that the industry is facing an epidemic of counterfeit parts. To stem the tide of fake electronics, both private and military supply chains are taking action through the implementation of new authentication and testing programs.

To reiterate the severity of this issue, I point to a case that made headlines because it exposed an area with   the potential to impact U.S. nuclear submarines. Massachusetts resident Peter Picone was charged recently convicted of importing counterfeit semiconductors and then selling them to customers throughout the United States. Many of these parts were intended for use on U.S. nuclear submarines. This is but one of many reports on counterfeit components entering our military’s supply chain, and it comes at a very important time. 

The announcement of Picone’s guilty plea comes nearly one month after the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Case 2012-D055 was finalized.  This final rule will have a huge impact on prime contractors and will ultimately flow down to any supplier doing business that involve parts which end up in the hands of the government. Had these requirements been in place from 2007–2012, it is highly unlikely that Picone’s organization could have committed the fraud and deceit that it did.

This ruling provides a much needed framework for how prime defense contractors should go about mitigating their exposure to counterfeit components. The Department of Defense has also recently officially adopted the AS6081 Counterfeit Avoidance Standard for distributors. AS6081 is an internationally accredited standard developed by SAE International.  It is the result of the aerospace and defense industries uniting to both provide a solution to the problem of counterfeiting and to prevent additional counterfeit components from entering the military supply chain.Read the full column here.Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of SMT Magazine.

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