Missile Defense Agency seeks new ways to weed out fake electronic parts


NextGov, May 10, 2012.

The Missile Defense Agency seeks new techniques to weed out fake electronic parts in weapons systems, a small business solicitation reveals. The call for proposals highlights a distressing problem the Pentagon faces: The incidence of counterfeit parts appearing in military supply chains has risen in recent years. When authorized dealers or original makers run out of obsolescent parts to replace the military’s aging equipment, contractors turn to unaccredited middlemen for supplies, where counterfeits tend to be mixed into the pool. Counterfeiters try to disguise used or fake components as new ones by polishing their surfaces or using sandblasting equipment to remove any ink markings. Such tricks are difficult to detect. The Pentagon wants to fund the development of methods to mark and coat parts at the time of manufacture, so customers at later stages in the supply chain can confirm that the surfaces of the parts have not been tampered with, according to the document.


3 thoughts on “Missile Defense Agency seeks new ways to weed out fake electronic parts

  1. Henry, can you give more detail as to what the Pentagon is actually looking for? I know there are tests being conducted with all the major anti-counterfeiting technologies, so at what point do you think they will “settle” on the standard they will employ? Cost may or may not be an issue, but what are the other trade-offs in selecting the final tech?

  2. Cynthia Gordon says:

    Applied DNA Sciences Awarded Phase I SBIR Contract by the United States Missile Defense Agency

    Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. , a provider of DNA-based anti-counterfeiting technology and product authentication solutions, announced today that it has been awarded a Phase I research grant by the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for approximately $150,000, for advanced development of APDN’s anti-counterfeiting platform for military electronics.

    The award, granted by the MDA Small Business Innovative Research program (SBIR), aims to develop advanced and innovative methods of placing markings or coatings onto original parts at the time of manufacture, to enable customers at later stages in the supply chain to confirm that the component is authentic.

    The project expands on, but is separate from the research and testing supported by the Defense Logistics Agency, a project which prepared the platform now required by DLA for all items in a class of electronics provided by contractors to the agency.

    Dr. James A. Hayward, President and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences, commented:

    “The SBIR research award from the Missile Defense Agency is another highly important sign that our company’s technology has awakened widespread interest in the military and its suppliers. It builds on the momentum of the ongoing requirement by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) which requires use of our product by trusted suppliers to DLA. The research for MDA will aid our ongoing work in expanding the range of applications of SigNature® DNA, further compressing the time used to mark and authenticate items, and opening up the ability to use still more and varied carriers for our mark.”

    The award is a Phase I (feasibility) grant, typically followed by a competition for Phase II (implementation) and Phase III (commercialization) grants. Said Dr. Hayward: “We are optimistic that we will be able to take this research project through implementation and move to the commercialization stage.”

    The MDA Small Business Innovative Research program distributes over $1 billion annually, in order to harness the creativity of smaller businesses in the service of its unmatched technological platform, and in defense of the country.

    Approved for Public Release

    13-MDA-7255 (19 April 13)

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