May 23, 2012

DOD combats counterfeit parts threat

by Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

The Defense Department is resolute in its fight against counterfeit parts and has implemented steps to stop them from entering the supply chain and eliminating those already in, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters May 22.

DOD has been combating counterfeit parts for years, Little said.

“We have stepped up, over time, our aggressive action to address this problem,” he said, “and we’ve stepped it up on many fronts.”

Earlier this year, Frank Kendall, the acting undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, issued a memorandum to stand up an aggressive and comprehensive anti-counterfeiting program. The memo calls for a program to prevent and detect electronic counterfeit parts and other mission- critical and critical safety parts.

“We’re unaware to date of any loss of life or catastrophic mission failure that has occurred because of counterfeit parts,” Little said. “That doesn’t mean we should stop addressing the issue. We will not stop until we strengthen our efforts to identify, prevent and detect these pieces of equipment from entering our supply chain.”

DOD officials do not believe there has been a demonstrable mission impact because of counterfeit parts in the supply chain, Little said.

“We take it seriously,” he said. “I’m not sure that I can say for sure that there’s never been any impact whatsoever, but … we’re continuing to work the issue.”

DOD officials are also working closely with the White House’s intellectual property coordinator to strengthen reporting requirements and contracting clauses through changes in the Federal Acquisition Regulation. This establishes the guidelines for suppliers of goods and services to the U.S. government, not just to the Department of Defense. Officials at the Office of Management and Budget have these changes now.

Once counterfeiting is identified, DOD also works closely with law enforcement agencies to investigate the situation and prosecute those convicted. The department also debars those companies that supply counterfeit parts.

The department also constantly monitors parts already in the supply chain, Little said.

“We work closely with industry to try to attack this problem, and we’ll continue to do so,” he said. “So we are working very hard to try to sort this issue out and to take steps that will further strengthen our supply chain and ensure that this kind of problem does not occur in the future.”

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