Experts address issue of compromised components, a potential danger to critical missions and life

SAN DIEGO, 2 June 2009. Industry experts discussed supply chain trust and anti-tampering, further to a conversation this morning on counterfeit electronic components, during the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum in San Diego. The late-morning session, "The Trusted Supply Chain and Anti-tampering Technology," began with a talk by Sydney Pope of the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Industrial Policy).

By Courtney E. Howard

SAN DIEGO, 2 June 2009. Industry experts discussed supply chain trust and anti-tampering, further to a conversation this morning on counterfeit electronic components, during the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum in San Diego. The late-morning session, "The Trusted Supply Chain and Anti-tampering Technology," began with a talk by Sydney Pope of the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Industrial Policy), or ODUSD.

Pope highlighted the importance of Section 254 Trusted Defense Systems of the FY09 Defense Authorization Act. Pope, citing verbiage from Section 254, recommended that mil-aero firms adopt a four-part strategy, which includes: vulnerability assessment
, verification methods, integrated strategy for managing supply chain risk, and acquisition policy for ensuring dependable, continuous, long-term access and trust of mission-critical circuits.

Pope also discussed trust implications that stem from counterfeiting. Tampering and counterfeiting both lead to intentionally compromised devices, which may be impossible to detect and can jeopardize both mission and life, he said.

Ways to address counterfeiting risk include: buying from established sources, conducting independent testing and inspection, establish controls and methods for performance requirements, OEMs adopting traceability mechanisms, and reporting instances of counterfeiting to law enforcement and GIDEP. Pope placed special emphasis on the last item: reporting companies trafficking counterfeit parts to law-enforcement personnel and GIDEP.

GIDEP, the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program, is a cooperative activity between government and industry "seeking to reduce or eliminate expenditures of resources by sharing technical information essential during research, design, development, production, and operational phases of the life cycle of systems, facilities, and equipment," as described online at http://www.gidep.org.

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