The Defense Department’s supply chain is vulnerable to the infiltration of counterfeit parts, potentially jeopardizing the lives of American soldiers, according to two Democratic senators. In an August 6 letter to the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, the Senators argued the Pentagon was not doing enough to protect the system from imitation supplies, many of which originate overseas. “Counterfeit parts manufactured offshore not only hurt American manufacturing and competitiveness, but in this case, have the potential to put our military at risk and jeopardize our national security missions,” one said. The letter cited two recent reports that detailed serious weaknesses in Defense’s ability to root out fake supplies. In January, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security found all elements of the Defense and international supply chain have been directly affected by counterfeit electronics. The assessment, which covered 2005 to 2008, focused on discrete electronic components, microcircuits and circuit board products. A total of 387 companies and organizations, representing all five segments of the supply chain participated in the study. Investigators found 39 percent of companies and organizations encountered counterfeit electronics during the four-year period. The number of incidents grew from 3,868 in 2005 to 9,356 in 2008, the report said.

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