Electronics industry urges U.S. military to buy only American-made printed circuit boards

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., 26 April 2009. The American circuit board and electronic circuits packaging industry is urging the U.S. military to buy military circuit boards -- even boards considered to be non-critical technology -- only from U.S. companies to support a robust and technically advanced domestic supply base of military board products.

This buy-American recommendation for non-critical military printed circuit board technology is coming from the IPC Association Connecting Electronics Industries (formerly Institute of Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits) in Bannockburn, Ill.

"Access to less complex PCBs for DOD use will provide manufacturers with sustained, predictable financial support, ensuring stability within a dependable, consistent and secure supply base for the DOD," says IPC member Mike Moisan of TTM Technologies Inc. in Santa Ana, Calif.

This urging for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to buy only domestically produced circuit boards is part of a six-part policy recommendation that the IPC is preparing for the U.S. Navy, which DOD has designated as its printed circuit board executive agent, which is tasked with strengthening U.S. national defense readiness by developing a circuit board interconnect technology roadmap for the DOD.

Acting as the DOD's circuit board agent, the Navy is formulating a policy to ensure that the DOD has access to circuit board manufacturing capabilities and the technical expertise necessary to meet future military requirements.

The IPC recommendations are coming from a panel of experts from North American circuit board manufacturers, who are urging the DOD to help sustain a North American circuit board industry that can DOD needs. The panel includes executives from Colonial Circuits Inc.; DDi Corp.; EIT Inc.; Hunter Technology; IMI Inc.; Sanmina-SCI; TTM Technologies; and Vulcan Flex Circuits Corp.

The IPC panel also us urging the DOD to create a DOD-funded circuit board research and development consortium aimed at ensuring that circuit board manufacturers can supply and support the DOD and U.S. prime defense contractors.

The IPC also wants the DOD to require prime contractors to submit circuit board technology GAP analyses as part of their contract bids to secure research and development funding for technologically limited areas. IPC experts also want tax incentives for circuit board manufacturers that supply the DOD.

Other portions of the IPC six-point plan urge the DOD to enforce guidelines like military specifications (MIL-SPECs), International Traffic in Arms regulations (ITAR), and IPC standards. Finally, IPC wants DOD to require its prime contractors working on military programs to participate in circuit board technology roadmaps.

For more information contact the IPC online at www.ipc.org.

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