Fixing the Fakes

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.

This entry was posted in Hot Wires and tagged , , , by Mike. Bookmark the permalink.

About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

One thought on “Fixing the Fakes

  1. iNEMI is crafting a path to address authenticity issues and may be a better group than IPC as they extend further into the electronics supply chain.

Comments are closed.