Skip to comments.Counterfeit military parts from China a ‘clear and present danger,’ senators say
Posted on 11/08/2011 3:21:56 PM PST by Libloather
Counterfeit military parts from China a clear and present danger, senators say
By John T. Bennett - 11/08/11 02:46 PM ET
Senate Armed Services Committee leaders are fashioning a plan that would force the Defense Department to step up efforts to prevent counterfeit parts from being used on U.S. military platforms.
The panel said a probe it launched in March has uncovered what senators of both parties labeled alarming evidence that most of the counterfeit components come from China, Americas top economic and military competitor.
During the course of the committees investigation, virtually every one of the dozens of people our investigators have spoken with from defense contractors to semiconductor manufacturers to electronic component brokers has pointed to China, committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Tuesday.
The Senate panels probe determined the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, as the primary source of counterfeit electronic parts, Levin said.
Government auditors and industry officials said criminal enterprises inside China often strip electronic components off decades-old computer systems, then doctor them to resemble new parts. Those counterfeit items are then purchased by firms that supply such niche components to major defense contractors that work on U.S. military systems.
The counterfeit parts usually designed for commercial purposes often are unfit for intense military use, meaning they can fail and render the platform in which they have been placed inoperable.
Such a situation quickly can become a life-and-death matter for American troops, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said during a hearing. Levin called unreliable fake parts inside military systems a clear and present danger and a threat to our troops.
The counterfeit part issue also comes with a financial angle because when an unreliable fake component fails or is detected before use, DoD must buy yet another replacement component doubling the price to replace pricey items like electronics parts.
Many of the components for which counterfeit parts are passed off are no longer produced, but are part of U.S. military platforms. Fake parts have been found on workhorse military platforms like a variant of the C-130 aircraft, an F/A-18E/F fighter, a V-22 tilt rotor aircraft and a nuclear attack submarine.
While out of mass production, these components sometimes fail, and the Pentagon goes shopping for replacements. Enter what Brian Toohey, Semiconductor Industry Association president, called Chinese criminal enterprises that pass off fake parts as those components.
To combat what the Senate panel and several industry officials call a growing trend, Levin said he and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plan to offer an amendment to the upper chambers Defense authorization bill with a plan to clamp down on the flow of fake parts into the defense supply chain.
The envisioned Levin-McCain plan likely would, if included in a final version of the bill, mandate that the Pentagon put in place a new certification process that would scrutinize the suppliers of components for military systems, Levin said.
It also would replicate aspects of existing inspection programs for agricultural items with a specific order to closely examine items coming from China, Levin said.
This has been going on for too long, Levin said.
Both chambers of Congress should approve the coming amendment because we cant rely on the Chinese to do anything about this.
Levin and McCain hinted the Pentagon authorization bill could be on the Senate floor before Thanksgiving.
The SASC leaders also want military hardware contracts written in a way that would force weapon manufacturers to foot the bill for all costs of replacing fake parts that they failed to detect before they were placed on combat platforms.
Missile Defense Agency (MDA) chief Lt. Patrick OReilly told the panel his organization found 800 fake parts on one missile interceptor system, and paid over $2 million to replace them.
Levin gave MDA high marks for moves it has made on counterfeit parts, asking OReilly to provide the panel data on its supplier certification system and a contracting tactic it uses to place the burden for replacing bad parts on contractors.
Place a 50% tariff on all electronics coming out of China and it will take effect immediately.
Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas ......
That's one of the simplest of all problems to solve: have a requirement that everything supplied to the US military be produced in the USA. It was that way, or almost entirely that way, until a two or three decades ago.
No it won't. The Chinese will just stamp "Hecho en Mexico" on the parts.
congress needs a kick in the a$$ for allowing this!
FUBO GTFO! 438 Days until Noon Jan 20, 2013
“That’s one of the simplest of all problems to solve: have a requirement that everything supplied to the US military be produced in the USA. It was that way, or almost entirely that way, until a two or three decades ago.”
You’re absolutely right. I remember my father going ballistic about this in the early 80’s. He was an engineer for one of the big three jet engine makers. They started bringing in imported nuts and bolts that weren’t manufactured to our standards. I guess it’s no big deal until your pulling 3g’s and a bolt on the engine goes. And no, it wasn’t China they were bringing them in from.
And the next demand will be that we lower costs.
We used to build our own Microwave devices.
The smart people ended that practice ages ago to reduce costs.
Now we get what we pay for.
We are a hollow hulk, Free Trade and outsourcing have done us in. But Rush thinks Free Trade, the way it is practiced, is cool, so it must be ok. /sarc
I’ve dealt with this in medical device manufacturing for the last 10 years - sounds like either the military is behind the game or someone just decided that it was something to bring up now for some reason....
Wasn’t it Bill Clinton that opened the door to the USA military buying parts from China?
I was apalled at the time. Still am.