Article blaming contractors for DOD’s counterfeit parts problem

Many observations described in this article are accurate, but I think this article contributes to the ‘politicization’ these authors refer to in the title and excludes important factors contributing to the problem. “The real blame lies with those brokers and contractors who fail to responsibly control and manage their supply chains through ignorance or the quest for expediency or higher profit margins.”

I speculate that most people who have been actively engaged in confronting this problem would say there are several significant contributing factors. One significant factor is the fact that in some countries, governments look away while the counterfeiters continue their own quest for profits. Contrary to the picture this article paints, studies concerning the supply chain of counterfeit electronics show that China is very prominent in this regard.


12/14/2011 – By Leonard Zuga and Michael Pecht


One thought on “Article blaming contractors for DOD’s counterfeit parts problem

  1. Mike Buetow says:

    I disagree with some of the authors’ contentions. First, placing the blame squarely on economic pressures clouds the fact that defense contracts have been the golden goose for many companies at all tiers over the past decade. Moreover, the late 1990s were characterized by perhaps the highest profits and growth in printed circuit board history. If, as the authors contend, economic pressure is the culprit, then how to explain the rampant increase in counterfeits during that time?

    Second, while the legislation may have holes (what legislation doesn’t), formally putting the onus for ensuring the authenticity and quality of all electronics devices on the supply chain is a much-needed development. Contrarily, if a prime could simply bill the DoD for the former’s shady or lax procurement processes, that would simply invite further abuse (and cost).

    I believe the authors’ main point is that government cannot legislate this problem away. Perhaps. But what government can do is set very strict parameters for behavior, then show no impunity when it comes to enforcing those rules. From what I have seen, this is a good step in that direction.

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