Not long after posting my earlier essay, I observed with great interest a social media posting by a well-respected supply chain professional suggesting that differences in US and UK cultural norms may explain why US organizations seem to be more open about reporting counterfeit part discoveries.
The author describes how a US organization will tend to be viewed in a more favorable light, but a general fear of unfavorable media attention and reputational risk tends to stifle reporting in the UK and, in turn, perpetuates the problem of the UK A&D industry vulnerability. I speculate, however, that the US and UK are more alike than the author suggests. If those in the US who do not report their own discoveries were to be candid, the reasons may well be similar those the author attributes to UK cultural norms.
In my earlier essay, I describe inconsistencies between what many contractors claim to be reasons not to report their discoveries and their actions when these reasons are disarmed. I state that one explanation is that many contractors have not established business practices for reporting outside of their organizations; I speculate the underlying reasons why many have not established these practices may well be fear unfavorable media attention and reputational risk.
I can tell you from experience that one-half decade ago, the reporting of counterfeit part incidents by contractors was not generally viewed as an act of good citizenship. There was a tendency to shoot the messenger rather than to embrace such reporting as a valuable disclosure to benefit the user community at large. Furthermore, there was often a tendency to attribute the problem to the Original Component Manufacturer whose product had been counterfeited.
Fortunately, these misperceptions are changing and the reporting of counterfeit part incidents by contractors is now embraced by the US Congress and by DoD. Reporting is an important tool in the arsenal to combat the problem. Voluntary reporting along with US Government studies has helped the US Government (DoD in particular) and the A&D industry to understand the nature of the problem and reveal valuable information necessary to address it.