A “flood” of counterfeit electronic parts, overwhelmingly from China, has made its way into the US military’s supply chain and threatens both national security and American jobs, according to a Senate Armed Services Committee report issued last month. The report, the result of a year-long investigation, “underscores China’s failure to police the blatant market in counterfeit parts—a failure China should rectify,” wrote SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) in a release coinciding with the report’s May 21 publication. SASC investigators documented more than 1,800 cases involving more than one million suspect counterfeit parts– many involving Air Force assets, such as the C-5 transport and RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted vehicle, according to the release. The Chinese government has failed to take steps to stop counterfeiting operations, which are often carried out openly in the country, and even denied visas to SASC staff attempting to investigate the problem, states the release. The rampant theft of intellectual property alone costs the US semiconductor industry more than $7.5 billion annually, and the Pentagon is ill-suited to respond to the challenge, according to the release. (SASC report; caution, large-sized file.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.