In summary, Senator Carl Levin put it like this, “Our report outlines how this flood of counterfeit parts, overwhelmingly from China, threatens national security, the safety of our troops and American jobs..It underscores China’s failure to police the blatant market in counterfeit parts – a failure China should rectify. (1)”
Interestingly enough, awareness about the prevalence of counterfeit parts is not new (2). In 2008, Business Week reported that Rob P. Ernst of the Naval Air Systems Command’s Aging Aircraft Program, estimated that 15% of the replacement parts purchased by the Pentagon were counterfeit (3).
Mr Ernst, who heads research of counterfeit parts claimed that the Air Force had regular field failures in all weapons systems. In his opinion, fake parts “almost certainly” contributed to serious accidents (4).
One can only speculate whether Washington will take immediate steps to address the issue.
This segment on counterfeit parts will focus on two different aspects related to the scandal. The first is the role of unscrupulous US companies in the purchase of subpar goods.
Secondly, the article will focus on how the Chinese can and do leverage stolen technology for economic gain. Consequently, China-sourced technology has the potential to weaken not only our national security, but also our economy.
Unscrupulous US Companies to Blame
“Western consumers and companies have been complicit as active enablers of China’s ruthless business practices, environmental destruction and technology transfer all in the name of price. But so has the DoD and the defense industry…eschewing long held supply chain quality management practices of the cold war era in order to hold the costs of military weapons and information systems…in check. (5)“The sentiments contained in the quote above are shared by the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) at the University of Maryland. This organization which is dedicated to research on electronics reliability, believes that unscrupulous US companies are to blame (6).
China’s role in manufacturing questionable parts is well documented and CALCE blames US contractors for their use.
Strict electronics purchasing standards established during the Vietnam war were faded out during the Clinton administration. The subsequent administration continued by gutting those standards even further.
By 2004, thousands of quality control measures had been faded out. As a result, subcontractors can now consider purchasing ‘non military use’ parts when cheaper or more advanced units are available.
This means that key military components can now be outsourced from unproven and untested suppliers as long as they meet the new hurdles, ie parts are more advanced and or cheaper.
This leeway provided to subcontractors has led to disastrous results. It is the opinion of CALCE, such measures have led to cheap Chinese parts filling the military pipeline.
According to CALCE, unscrupulous companies benefited from the lax standards and the fragmented electronics parts market. Where once strict oversight abounded, there is now relatively little.
Military contractors are expected to self police, as it were, and have been doing a poor job of it. The preponderance of substandard goods proves that contractors and subs have done little to no ‘self policing’.
Even more alarming, CALCE proves that not only have some US contractors knowingly utilized counterfeit parts, but they have commissioned their production as well. What this means is that US companies have purchased components upon which the security of the United States relies, with full knowledge that the parts are not genuine.
While this contention is alarming, the idea that governmental suppliers have actively engaged in coaching Chinese on how to produce counterfeit parts that will pass inspection is a crime against America.
Finish reading complete article @Source: Chinese Counterfeit Goods in US Military Supply Chain – Part II | Top Secret Writers