An Aug. 8 Defense One article by Thompson Coburn attorneys Jim Burger and Kimberly Heifetz has sparked a heated discussion about the deadly threat posed by counterfeit electronics in critical military systems.
The article, “Counterfeits Can Kill U.S. Troops. So Why Isn't Congress and DoD Doing More to Stop It?” targets the startling influx of counterfeit electronics into the U.S. military supply chain. The vast majority of counterfeits discovered in military equipment are semiconductors, the stamp-sized silicon wafers that act as the “brains” of nearly every type of modern electronic system.
To stop the flow of these dangerous counterfeit electronics, Jim and Kimberly recommend two fixes. First, Congress should pass H.R. 22, a simple legislative fix will stop counterfeit semiconductors before they even come near our military systems. Second, the Department of Defense needs to issue another proposed rule regarding counterfeit electronics and more closely seek the input of experts in the semiconductor industry.
- The U.S. military is a huge consumer of semiconductors. A single F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, like the one below, is controlled by more than 2,500 semiconductors.