A report last year by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Technology Evaluation, found that counterfeit electronics are present in troubling amounts in the Department of Defense supply chain.
Then, in March, the Senate Armed Services Committee launched an investigation into this growing problem.
Now, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) has announced "Operation Chain Reaction," a new comprehensive initiative to target the counterfeit and pirated goods entering the supply chains of the DOD and other US government agencies.
This is the first time that IPR Center participants have come together to collectively address the threat posed by fake parts in government supply chains. The list of IPR Center participants includes:
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS)
US Army Criminal Investigative Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit
General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General
Defense Logistics Agency, Office of Inspector General
US Air Force, Office of Special Investigations
In a press release, ICE revealed a few examples of recent investigations involving counterfeit products entering the federal supply chain. Check out these cases, which illustrate the need for immediate attention to this critically important issue:
An investigation uncovered the purchase of counterfeit Cisco Gigabit Interface Converters by an individual who intended to sell them to the Department of Defense for use by the Marine Corps to transmit troop movements, relay intelligence and maintain security for a military base. (The individual has been sentenced to prison.)
An investigation uncovered a global procurement and distribution network based in California that provided counterfeit integrated circuits to various governmental agencies, including the military and prime DoD contractors. Agents conducted undercover purchases from individuals within the company under official Navy contracts and were provided counterfeits for weapons platforms.
An investigation identified a Florida-based electronics broker providing counterfeit integrated circuits to DoD prime contractor fulfilling a Navy contract for components destined for implantation into ship and land-based antenna.
"Anytime you purchase a knock off or pirated product, it's a virtual certainty the quality and reliability will be inferior to the genuine article," ICE Director John Morton said. "When you're talking about counterfeit goods like these, the implications are frightening. As long as these items are out there, we will keep doing our part to keep them out of the federal supply chain and out of the hands of our war fighters."