Disturbing national security news: counterfeit defense products from China
When President Obama met with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the start of 2011, he had nothing but warm words for his Beijing counterpart: "I absolutely believe that China's peaceful rise is good for the world, and it's good for America... We have an enormous stake in each other's success. Nations, including our own, will be more prosperous and more secure when we work together."
One has to wonder what the Obama Administration is thinking today upon learning that China has been busily "dumping counterfeit electronic parts into the Pentagon's supply chain," according to the Associated Press.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has been reviewing more than 100,000 pages of Defense Department documents and material from more than 70 companies, and has found roughly 1,800 cases of suspected counterfeit electronics being sold to the Pentagon. The total number of parts in these cases topped 1 million.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) says that "a million parts is surely a huge number." But in even more disturbing news, he believes that these initial findings "are just the tip of the iceberg."
The suspect parts include salvaged and recycled components that were "burned off old circuit boards, washed in rivers, dried on streets and sanded down to remove identifying marks."
The parts were subsequently installed in such key defense systems as the Air Force's C-17 airplane, the Marine Corps' CH-46 helicopter, and the Army's Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system. According to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the risks to national security are alarming. He says the committee will press for amendments to a defense bill that could limit counterfeit electronics in the supply chain:
"We can't tolerate the risk of a ballistic missile interceptor failing to hit its target, a helicopter pilot unable to fire his missiles or any other mission failure because of a counterfeit part."
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