“We do not want a $12 million missile defensive interceptor’s reliability compromised by a $2 counterfeit part.”
General Patrick O’Reilly, Director, Missile Defense Agency, November 8, 2011.
Counterfeit electronic parts in the military is a huge problem. For example, in Sept. 2010 the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) learned that mission computers for THAAD missiles contained suspect counterfeit memory devices. If the devices had failed, the THAAD missile itself would have failed.
The enclosed 100+ page report compiled by the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, in May, 2012 is the most comprehensive report to date on the problem. The overwhelming majority of the counterfeits were manufactured outside of the United States. Senator John McCain, former POW, and Senator Carl Levin testified about the problem of counterfeit parts, most of which come from China. The parts are often from what’s known as electronic waste or e-waste, refurbished parts from laptops, smartphones, and other communication devices. The parts are sold to suppliers doing business with the government through the Internet.