A report released on Monday by the Senate Armed Services Committee revealed that the US military’s ever expanding supply chain is rife with counterfeit parts, the majority of them coming from China. Fake parts were found installed on seven aircraft, on systems manufactured by Raytheon Co., L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., and Boeing Co.
The report described the counterfeit process “in which parts are burned off old circuit boards, washed in rivers, dried on streets and sanded down to remove identifying marks. The salvaged parts, which can look brand new, are sold on the Internet or openly in the markets.”
The 1,800 or so suspected cases found by the panel involve over one million parts, and one legislator called it “just the tip of the iceberg.”
Now that the Pentagon has been caught holding the fake Gucci bags of armed defense, what will they do? Rain down obligatory oversight regulations on contractors and shippers of course, particularly those coming from China:
Levin and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said Monday they intend to use the 2012 Defense Authorization Act to modify acquisition provisions so that the onus is always on contractors to pay for replacement parts, with the hope that the contractors see it in their own interest to ensure parts from their own suppliers are genuine.
The lawmakers also threatened to seek the inspection of all shipments of Chinese electronic parts at U.S. ports if China does not take steps to curb the flow of counterfeit goods. The costs of those inspections, they said, would be borne by the shippers.
Even with new regulations, it’ll undoubtedly take ages to clean up the supply chain. While thankfully the fakes have not been tied to any injuries or deaths so far, a fortune has been wasted replacing them. For the sake of the taxpayers, we at least hope they bargained.