The US Senate Armed Forces Subcommittee may finally be taking the counterfeit problem seriously.
The subcommittee will hold a hearing next week to share results of an investigation into the development and procurement of fake chips for military use. This is long overdue, of course. The government’s own auditors have been pointing out just how widespread the problem is. It came to a head in 2008 when technicians working on an F-15 flight computer at Robins Air Force Base discovered four replacement semiconductor chips were fake. The legal trail traced the parts to a site in Shenzhen, and US courts extracted a guilty plea from one officer at the local distributor who resold the parts. (The owner committed suicide while awaiting trial.)
That the government is at long last getting involved is a welcome, if overdue change. This is one of those areas where an effective IPC government relations team could really have an impact. Instead of tilting at accelerated depreciation windmills which are better left to the big boys, this is a nitty-gritty technical issue with chilling overtones. All the conferences around the country are nice (and make money), but the real work requires pounding the pavement in Washington.