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US Military Trying To Weed Out Counterfeit Parts 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-should-form-an-anti-counterfeiting-trade-agreement dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from an AP report: "'Sprinkling' sounds like a fairly harmless practice, but in the hands of sophisticated counterfeiters it could deceive a major weapons manufacturer and possibly endanger the lives of U.S. troops. It's a process of mixing authentic electronic parts with fake ones in hopes that the counterfeits will not be detected when companies test the components for multimillion-dollar missile systems, helicopters and aircraft. It was just one of the brazen steps described Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing examining the national security and economic implications of suspect counterfeit electronics — mostly from China — inundating the Pentagon's supply chain. ... The committee's ongoing investigation found about 1,800 cases of suspect counterfeit electronics being sold to the Pentagon. The total number of parts in these cases topped 1 million. By the semiconductor industry's estimates, counterfeiting costs $7.5 billion a year in lost revenue and about 11,000 U.S. jobs."
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US Military Trying To Weed Out Counterfeit Parts

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  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @10:20PM (#37995008)
    Why are we even buying critical components such as these from China? If we're wasting millions every year detecting and replacing these counterfeit components, why not use that money and build fabrication plants here instead. That way we know the components are real, and we don't have to rely on an outside source. Also, why isn't the burden of supplying new, real components falling on the contractors hired to provide them? If counterfeit components are found, at the very least the supplier/subcontractor should be blacklisted. Hold contractors accountable for once and this crap will stop happening. As it is, the contractors have no incentive to self-police. They know they will still get the next contract even if they go overbudget, over time, and under-quality because they've been doing it for years with no consequences. Considering our recent budget issues, we need to eliminate wasteful spending. And a lot of it can be found in defense contracting.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Millions to weed out counterfeit parts, BILLIONS to build a fab.
      While it's stupid to buy parts from a foreign power that wishes to subjugate us, its still cheaper to do so the build it all here. Hell, I work for a semiconductor company and our stuff is fabbed in Taiwan. Is that China in regards to this conversation?
      catchpa: herpes

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yes, seconding this. People just don't seem to realize the completely insane amount of money it takes. It's also not a one-time payment; any time you change technologies you literally need to build an entire new facility.

        There are a ton of American semiconductor manufacturers which cannot reasonably afford to run their own fabs. Qualcomm, Broadcom, Conexant, Marvell, NVIDIA and Apple are all fabless. Even AMD and Intel outsource some work to TSMC. When Intel, the world's largest semiconductor company, balks

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          There are a ton of American semiconductor manufacturers which cannot reasonably afford to run their own fabs. ...and Apple

          Oh come on, Apple with its nearly $80billion in the bank can't afford it?

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        But once you build the fab, you have a fab. It makes money. It's an asset.

        When you spend millions weeding out counterfeit parts in a given year, you're in the exact same spot next year. In fact, you're even worse off, because every year we spend manufacturing things overseas makes it that much harder to ever bring the jobs back home.

        Put another way, the net present value of a fab is likely higher than the NPV of searching for counterfeits. But since when did corporate America ever care about long term b

        • by peragrin (659227)

          except when you need to shift building formats you need a completely new FAB.

          Going from 45nm to 33nm requires an entire new building, new custom equipment, etc. you can't reuse much in electronic FAB's. therefore your building only does you good if you don't want to ever build anything else.

        • But once you build the fab, you have a fab. It makes money. It's an asset.

          Yeah, one that depreciates according to Moore's law: every 18 months the value of it's output drops 50%. Even banks that thought synthetic derivatives of bonds based on fraudulent McMansion mortgages were a good investment would balk at underwriting that.

      • by ChatHuant (801522)

        Millions to weed out counterfeit parts, BILLIONS to build a fab

        But the factory wouldn't be destroyed after making the set of parts. It will continue producing and making money, thus recouping the initial investment.

        While it's stupid to buy parts from a foreign power that wishes to subjugate us, its still cheaper to do so the build it all here.

        I don't really understand why it would be so much cheaper. What are the big advantages China or Taiwan offer that makes semiconductor fabs move there? The ones I can think of are the cost of labor, weak enforcement of environmental regulations and government support (via direct subsidization, laxity in enforcing IP or laws/vamal regulations that hurt

      • And yet, Germany and France continues to run fab, as does America [wikipedia.org]. Kind of destroys your argument, does it not.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Baloroth (2370816)

      Most likely, it is a generally unimportant COTS part. Could be resistors, fluorescing CRT panels... w/e. TFA mentions a 12$ million weapon system being ruined by a bad 2$ part. This is, of course, just a guess. In other words, components that wouldn't normally be critical, aren't specific to the part at hand, and shouldn't be expected to fail.

      You wouldn't want the government spending millions to develop a mil-spec version of a standard component that is already (or should be) perfectly reliable and functio

      • by pookemon (909195)
        Of course if your chinese bought "Fluorescing CRT" panel transmits a GPS signal that can be traced then it's more than just a weapons system being ruined...
        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          The sort of stuff they are talking about would be impossible to hide a GPS tracking device in. At best a malicious supplier might be able to make it fail in some unexpected way under certain conditions.

          I wouldn't chalk most of this stuff up to malice though, merely people trying to make money.

      • by theVarangian (1948970) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @12:27AM (#37995830)

        Most likely, it is a generally unimportant COTS part. Could be resistors, fluorescing CRT panels... w/e. TFA mentions a 12$ million weapon system being ruined by a bad 2$ part.

        This is not a new problem. About 10 years ago a Luftwaffe mechanic changing bolts on the propeller assembly (IIRC) of a bunch of heavy transport planes became suspicious when the nuts he was handed were a different color than usual. He reported it and the things turned out to be made of mild steel; his meticulous nature prevented a really ugly accident. Some people weren't that lucky [wikipedia.org]. I read somewhere they even found fake parts on Air-Force One.

      • Your assumption makes no sense. Why would you "sprinkle" 10% of cheap parts to be replaced with even cheaper equivalents. You gain a few dollars and risk getting caught. There are plenty of high spec parts that can be replaced with slightly lower spec parts that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars less per item in the lower quality.
        • It's cultural (Score:4, Interesting)

          by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @08:08AM (#37998032)

          The reason why someone would risk their reputation for a small increase in profit is cultural. The Chinese have no misgivings about ripping off their customers. Whatever they can get away with, they will.

          Go to the Consumer Electronics Show sometime and talk to the people there. You'll hear horror stories over and over that all follow the same pattern - "The minute we turned our backs, the Chinese contractor started substituting whatever cheap-ass parts they could find."

          It's cultural. They believe if they *can* rip you off and get away with it, then that's the right thing to do. Anyone who does business with them who doesn't have their own people in the factory, doing QC and generally being suspicious, is taking way too much risk.

      • by Ruie (30480)
        $2 is really cheap for MIL-SPEC part, it was probably just a surface mount resistor or capacitor that got replaced with a $0.05 non-MIL-SPEC version.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @10:40PM (#37995172)

      ...an uninformed, knee-jerk comment.

      Trusted foundry is not cheap. It is not feasible to manufacture all electronics used by the federal government in the United States. This has been a well known problem for a long time. Here is an excerpt from a 2005 report.

      http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/ADA435563.pdf

      "Most leading edge wafer production facilities (foundries), with the exception so far of IBM and possibly Texas Instruments, are controlled and located outside the United States. The driving forces behind the “alienation” of foundry business from the United States to other countries include the lower cost of capital available in developing countries, through foreign nations’ tax, market access requirements, subsidized infrastructure and financing incentives (including ownership), and the worldwide portability of technical skills, equipment and process know-how."

      • by geekmux (1040042)

        ...an uninformed, knee-jerk comment.

        Trusted foundry is not cheap. It is not feasible to manufacture all electronics used by the federal government in the United States. This has been a well known problem for a long time...

        Ah, this is not a "knee-jerk comment". It's a comment addressing a problem that screams "fix me" even before the layman finishes reading the article, and I promise you it is the exact same comment coming from the Generals and Admirals in charge of the men and women put at huge risk with bullshit cost-saving decisions like this.

        Anything that has been a "well known problem for a long time" probably deserves a hell of a lot more "knee-jerk comments" to get those individuals making these dumb-ass outsourcing d

        • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:23PM (#37995480)

          I cannot even begin to fathom outsourcing a multi-million dollar defense system to a country that has mastered "consumer-grade" electronics.

          Because a handful of multi-million dollar defense systems is not a sufficiently large market to build a factory for making resistors, capacitors, and various other commodity parts in a high-cost market like the USA. If you made it a requirement, then that multi-million dollar defense system would now cost a few tens of billions of dollars apiece.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Much of the price of that system is pork anyway. If it were spent instead on the fab needed then possibly the cost would not have to go up at all. Now, let's just wait for hell to freeze over so we can have our efficient military.

      • Practically zero environmental requirements. As long as the slav^H^H^H^H workers and local residents don't die in noticeable numbers, you can do whatever you like (apart from paying the requisite local government bribes).
    • While the Chinese companies have a lot of the current parts contracts, history is littered with cases of fraud in the big-budget aerospace and military sectors throughout the existence of those industries. The problem does need to be resolved, but the article seems like racist scare-mongering to me considering the history of the issue.

      • The US budget for 2012 military spending is well over a trillion dollars. 7.5 billion might be a lot in total dollars, but it's 0.075 percent of the total budget. Not a particularly high rate of fraud in that context.

        • The US budget for 2012 military spending is well over a trillion dollars. 7.5 billion might be a lot in total dollars, but it's 0.075 percent of the total budget. Not a particularly high rate of fraud in that context.

          OTOH, setting up a US based fab, even if expensive by COTS standards, would be a rounding error in the DOD's budget.

        • The US budget for 2012 military spending is well over a trillion dollars. 7.5 billion might be a lot in total dollars, but it's 0.075 percent of the total budget. Not a particularly high rate of fraud in that context.

          1)The US budget for 2012 military spending includes just about $735 billion (including the VA). Which is well short of a trillion dollars.

          Note that we don't actually HAVE a budget for 2012, any more than we've had one in any year since 2007.
          But the proposed budget is $735 billion, including

          • by msobkow (48369)

            A trillion is 1000 billion. 7.5 / 1000 * 100 ==> 7.5 / 10. 0.75.

            Dang. You're right.

    • China engages in an incredible amount of espionage, both industrial and military. I'd imagine they've already modified chips in hard drives, cpus, or motherboard chipsets to help extract information. Forget military secrets, simply snatching some large bank's HTF code gives you vast options.

      We should built fabs here and charge double the price for 'secure' equipment. We'd require that all components used for classified military work were manufactured here, but presumably other companies will jump onboard

      • by DZign (200479)

        True but that espionage is to help their own industry.
        I don't think most fake parts found are espionage/sabotage attempts (except for a few military-specific components).

        Fake parts are just a huge problem in the electronics industry - for everyone.

        I repair old pinball machines, some people I know also do and always look for sources of obsolete ics.
        It's amazing how many times you find a 'stock' of obsolete parts that's available.. sometimes the scam is clear (datemarks that are too recent) but sometimes it's

        • I repair old pinball machines, some people I know also do and always look for sources of obsolete ics.
          It's amazing how many times you find a 'stock' of obsolete parts that's available.. sometimes the scam is clear (datemarks that are too recent) but sometimes it's not so obvious and only after testing you see that the parts you received are fakes..

          And presumabllly sometimes the fakes are good enough that they seem to work and get installed but they don't work quite right and/or fail prematurely. Not such a big deal if it's just a pinball machine but potentially a very big deal if it's some more critical system.

          And because of onerous certification requirements critical systems often end up with very long life cycles (redesigning means recertifying which means high costs) so they are likely to run into parts sourcing issues.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @10:52PM (#37995262) Journal

      I may be misunderstanding TFA, but my impression is that the parts are not meant to be sourced from China. It's where the counterfeit clones are made.

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)
        It doesn't matter if they are supposed to be sourced from China or not. Someone somewhere in the supply chain, be it a subcontractor or what, is still purchasing these components from China at prices they know are too good to be true, and have to know that many of the components do not and will not work. To me, that is gross negligence, if not outright fraud. To use an example, it's as if you went to Chinatown and bought 20 DVDs for $5, turned around and sold them for $15 each as brand new, then acted su
    • The problem with def contractors is they figured out it's cheaper to pay senators than to do quality work.

    • Because we no longer have the infrastructure and skills necessary to manufacture the goods we need. Even if cost wasn't a factor, we don't have the ability.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Absolutely agreed.

      Look, the defense department spends a shitload of money anyway. I'd really rather not have the Mark I "Lowest Bidder" air-to-air missile fizzle out and slam into a populated area by mistake.

      Dammit, if there was ever a need for a law, it's that the government should Buy American like they keep fucking telling us to do.

    • by neonv (803374) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:48PM (#37995598)

      I'm an engineer for a major defense contractor. We go through countless hours of testing equipment, electronics, and software to make sure the products work to spec. We test the components that come in from sub-contractors, as well as our own components. We're all nerds at heart, and we take pride in making quality electronics that work better than expected. I resent stereotyping on slashdot that all contractors are greedy and corrupt. I spend many unpaid hours improving products, no charge to the government, and make sure what I do works properly. I don't work because I want money from the government, I do it because I take pride in what I do, and I do a good job. Stop this ridiculous rhetoric to vent your anger at groups of people and focus on the individuals responsible.

      • After some of the stuff I've been reading here, this cheered me up immensely. Thanks for that, and for making the world a better place.

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        I resent stereotyping on slashdot that all contractors are greedy and corrupt. I spend many unpaid hours improving products, no charge to the government, and make sure what I do works properly. I don't work because I want money from the government, I do it because I take pride in what I do, and I do a good job. Stop this ridiculous rhetoric to vent your anger at groups of people and focus on the individuals responsible.

        Where did I say all contractors are corrupt? Think about this: if you are a construction contractor building a house and you use defective drywall (which has also been coming out of China if my memory serves), are you not held liable for repairs, replacements, and damages? Then why aren't these defense contractors? And if they got those components from a supplier, then why do they keep going back to that same supplier? Because he's cheap?

        You have every right to be angry, but I am not the right target f

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Stop this ridiculous rhetoric to vent your anger at groups of people and focus on the individuals responsible.

        We are - part of the problem is your bosses.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fluffy99 (870997)

      Why are we even buying critical components such as these from China?

      In most cases, we are not buying from China. We're buying from otherwise reputable vendors who are seeing these showing up in their supply channels.

      The whole milspec thing is part of the problem, because as a system developer in the govt you're only allowed to request a part of certain specs. The buyer goes out and finds a vendor claiming their parts meet the spec and they turns out their counterfeit. I would much prefer specing out a brand name and vendor that I can rely on, but FAR regulations prevent

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Why are we even buying critical components such as these from China?

      It actually doesn't matter where the parts originate from. In the 80s, the FAA discovered that counterfeit aviation parts were endemic throughout the entire industry. It even made it in the 747 used as Air Force One! These parts were often "reconditioned" worn out parts, illicitly rebuilt in the US.

      And this is an industry where paperwork and traceability is paramount, turning a one-penny screw into a $10 screw. If's so traceable you can pro

    • Why are we even buying critical components such as these from China?

      There's some pressure to use more COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) components to control costs. Yes, believe it or not the US military is actually starting to worry about cost-effectiveness!

      A lot of the "cool shit" is manufactured in China these days, because they have cheap labor and lax-to-nonexistent environmental regulations. While a lot of the cutting edge R&D still occurs in the US, once a technology is commercialized we have a hard time competing on cost; at that point production moves offshore an

    • First off, we will still need to check for part quality. Even here, you will have companies that cheat. In fact, it happens all too often.
      However, we still need to bring back manufacturing, it nothing for security. But one good example is that we are close to using smart phones for our troops. It should be required that these phones be produced in America (with western parts). That would then give that company the chance to build others commercial use here as well. At this time, America is about the onl
    • by gorzek (647352)

      The industrial capacity to build these parts in the amounts and time required doesn't even exist in the US anymore.

  • Bogus parts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @10:23PM (#37995028)

    I can attest to this. A former employer tried to buy some parts for some ham radio related products we made. We got 500 of them. ALL of them were completely useless. They LOOKED authentic, but when connected to a known good test fixture, they proved to be utterly useless. We were very fortunate, in that we had purchased them from a legitimate dealer, who refunded our money.

    This is a serious problem.

    • by am 2k (217885)

      We were very fortunate, in that we had purchased them from a legitimate dealer, who refunded our money.

      How is getting a legitimate dealer luck? Isn't that something you should make certain when choosing your supply channels?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @10:23PM (#37995030)

    Contrary to what many people think, China doesn't just produce low quality stuff. They'll produce the iPad and the iPhone. They'll make whatever quality level you want to pay them for. They make 99% of the consumer stuff you buy, from the cheap-ass wallmart plastic crap to the highest end consumer electronics and computer parts.

    So: the US military could get very high quality stuff for much cheaper than paying Americans to make it, just like Apple outsources the iDevices to China to make, and same for many, many other business entities. There is plenty of precedent for outsourcing your military hardware - many countries outsource it to the USA, in fact. So given China's major advantage in manufacturing, maybe it's time for the US to start outsourcing military production to China.

    Then there's no issue about counterfitting. Buy whatever quality you want from the Chinese supplier.

    • You don't outsource when you can't control quality. Especially in important things like aircraft and weapon systems.

      Boeing tried that approach with the 787 - took them 5 years to recover. Up front cost for a lot of these things is only a small portion of the total investment. Yes, China can make things at very high quality levels. The issue is can you be comfortable that they are doing that (and not ripping off your IP which is another issue).

      One thing I would have liked to know is exactly WHAT counter

    • So the US military is having a problem with the quality of their outsourced hardware and your solution is more outsourcing...

      • Maybe they can hire Chinese soldiers too. Why pay brave young Americans to die on foreign sands in a vain attempt to protect oil conglomerates, when there are billions of Chinese who will do it for a fraction of the cost?
    • So given China's major advantage in manufacturing, maybe it's time for the US to start outsourcing military production to China.

      Come to think of it, why outsource just production? Why not the entire military? China has plenty manpower to spare, and it's cheap, too - so they can compensate for any technological deficiencies. Just think about it - why waste a $100K smart bomb, where an infantry platoon can do the same, while costing orders of magnitude less - and it's reusable, too!

      ~

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Contrary to what many people think, China doesn't just produce low quality stuff. They'll produce the iPad and the iPhone. They'll make whatever quality level you want to pay them for. They make 99% of the consumer stuff you buy, from the cheap-ass wallmart plastic crap to the highest end consumer electronics and computer parts.

      So: the US military could get very high quality stuff for much cheaper than paying Americans to make it, just like Apple outsources the iDevices to China to make, and same for many, many other business entities. There is plenty of precedent for outsourcing your military hardware - many countries outsource it to the USA, in fact. So given China's major advantage in manufacturing, maybe it's time for the US to start outsourcing military production to China.

      Then there's no issue about counterfitting. Buy whatever quality you want from the Chinese supplier.

      I seriously hope you're not trying to equate iDevices to defense weapon systems when it comes to reliability and longevity. Sure, Apple makes a decent product, but it's still consumer-grade hardware. I expect my Macbook to perhaps hold up a little longer than the average laptop, but I don't expect any consumer-grade device to last longer than 5 or maybe 10 years, and that's not even taking into account the issues related to RoHS manufacturing. Not exactly the same quality standards needed for our defense

    • by fluffy99 (870997)

      Contrary to what many people think, China doesn't just produce low quality stuff. They'll produce the iPad and the iPhone. They'll make whatever quality level you want to pay them for. They make 99% of the consumer stuff you buy, from the cheap-ass wallmart plastic crap to the highest end consumer electronics and computer parts.

      So: the US military could get very high quality stuff for much cheaper than paying Americans to make it, just like Apple outsources the iDevices to China to make, and same for many, many other business entities. There is plenty of precedent for outsourcing your military hardware - many countries outsource it to the USA, in fact. So given China's major advantage in manufacturing, maybe it's time for the US to start outsourcing military production to China.

      Then there's no issue about counterfitting. Buy whatever quality you want from the Chinese supplier.

      Totally irrelevant when there's a middleman such as an electronics components vendor involved who is either intentionally substituting or unaware of the parts quality. Apple provides most of the parts to the Chinese assembly factories and watches them very, very closely. You simply can't do that through middlemen.

    • by Vskye (9079)

      Really? I find it hard to believe that someone even gave you a +1 as Anonymous, yet alone even agree with you.

      US Military fab / manufacturing needs to stay in the US and actually employee people in the US.

  • similar in aerospace (Score:5, Informative)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @10:29PM (#37995092)

    Similar problems occur in large shipments of commodity aviation components, like shims, nutplates, etc.

    A less than scrupulous outsource supplier could sprinkle 20% of the product yeild with improper components, and if the batch is large enough, never get noticed. This doesn't negate the issues that "bogus parts" cause downstream in the product's lifecycle. Bad shims (made from incorrect, but "similar" materials) can promote dielectrics to form in important assemblages, manifesting all sorts of failures.. all kinds of thing can go wrong because somebody some place didn't want to follow what was in the order to the letter and cut corners somewhere.

    In electronics, I could see this being manifest in diodes that are of the wrong class being used where, eg, zener diodes are required for proper operation, or the use of poorly formulated capacitor electrolytes in mission critical noise filters, and failsafes.

    The effects would be equally diasterous, and vexing to maintenance and service people. The properly sourced equipment simply shouldn't fail in those ways. The component choices were made for that specific reason.

    It does not surprise me that chinese manufacturers are the big sources of this problem. The quality of manufacture and qa process from cheap factories are tied directly to the cost per unit: you get what you pay for.

    • I have a friend who used to work in quality control for the defense industry, and he told me that this kind of thing has been going on a long time. Sometimes you could tell just by looking at the packaging that the parts were not what they were supposed to be. Still, it was very hard to get vendors taken off the approved list. I'm not going to name names, but some of these were large firms that you may have heard of.

      Perhaps it has become even worse in the last few years since he was involved. Or perhaps th

    • Don't you find it funny that in the age of "Quality Assurance", six sigma and various other schemes that less actual product testing to ensure a product complies with a standard is going on? Some idiots extracted buzzwords from good manufacturing practices and then pretended the buzzwords were enough and scrapped the good manufacturing practices.
      There's also a lot of rubber stamp certification going on. One blatant example I saw was some guys doing a test with a magnet to find cracks in a welded pipe (MPI
    • This isn't even just a problem of cheap suppliers. We source some industrial process gear from reputable a reputable American company. None the less every so often we get a shipment with a couple of parts failing Positive Material Identification. Hastelloy, Inconell, and many other exotic alloys all pretty much look the same to the naked eye so this could be down to accident, but none the less it's not just sourcing components from China that could be a potential problem.

      They just don't do quality control l

  • I work in the industry and we've had similar problems, even from big name, american outfits. I put the blame on the distributors for that, though. Not sure if it is entirely well founded... as they often have stuff produced in plenty of places, might be difficult to track, with just lot sample testing. I can't see an excuse on military stuff though...

    Wouldn't US gov contracts be big enough to cut distributors and go straight to the source? Whatever happened to military grade, every component tested in ameri

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      That's not the way the government works.

      The government buys from a GSA approved vendor. That vendor buys from whoever they damned well please.

      Way way back in the day, I knew someone who worked in a gov't office. They had a token ring network. I happened to be there, and diagnosed the problem (bad network card). Don't worry, it wasn't a classified network of any sort. :) I wasn't suppose to diagnose anything, but they appreciated the help. They tried to get

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @10:52PM (#37995258) Homepage

    18 U.S.C. 2154: Production of defective war material, war premises, or war utilities:

    (a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, or in times of national emergency as declared by the President or by the Congress, with intent to injure, interfere with, or obstruct the United States or any associate nation in preparing for or carrying on the war or defense activities, or, with reason to believe that his act may injure, interfere with, or obstruct the United States or any associate nation in preparing for or carrying on the war or defense activities, willfully makes, constructs, or causes to be made or constructed in a defective manner, or attempts to make, construct, or cause to be made or constructed in a defective manner any war material, war premises or war utilities, or any tool, implement, machine, utensil, or receptacle used or employed in making, producing, manufacturing, or repairing any such war material, war premises or war utilities, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than thirty years, or both.

    For some reason, charges aren't being brought under that law. A few CEOs doing 30 years in the Federal pen would put a big dent in the problem.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185)

      But we aren't at 'war' (except for drugs and cancer). Maybe Michelle Bachman constitutes a National Emergency but I'm not sure that's what the framers of law had in mind.

      • by gman003 (1693318)

        Check Proclamation 7463 (signed 2011-09-14, extended annually throughout Bush's and Obama's terms). There's also Executive Order 12947 (signed 1995-24-01 by Clinton), and two more signed in 1979-10-14 and 1995-03-15 that I couldn't (be assed to) find more specifics on.

        We're under at least four "limited" states of emergency right now. With the exception of Israel (which has been under a state of emergency since 1948), we've been under an uninterrupted state of emergency longer than any other country.

      • It's diplomaticly convenient to pretend that there isn't a war but it doesn't fool anyone. So, why did you join the weasels on this or are you merely pointing out that without a formal declaration laws like the one quoted above are difficult to enforce?
        Historically such sabotage has gone unpunished in times of declared war. The most blatant example I can think of was the Liberty ships where the 1930s guidelines from Lloyds, ASTM (think it was ASM back then) and the not so distant lesson of the Titanic wer
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It's diplomaticly convenient to pretend that there isn't a war but it doesn't fool anyone.

          it doesn't matter, because the USA is in a perpetual state of emergency. if it's not a terorrist attack, it's heavy weather, or an earthquake. we can always find an excuse.

    • by Simulant (528590)
      I expect they generally walk with a fine. IMO, fraud by US contractors towards the federal government should be treated as something akin to treason.
  • That is precisely what it is.

  • I'm reading about money and "US Jobs" in the summary, but for some reason, lost lives due to malfunctioning equipment doesn't seem to be a problem. Sure, it's about weapons, so you'd expect lives to be lost, or it wouldn't be much of a weapon, but what if it's the "good guys" that get killed or deserve a life long government funding of their handicapped existence? If that's not important, you can buy much more inferior weapons, and replace the weapons capabilities with lots of US jobs in the military. That
  • The generals who approved the decisions to purchase critical parts from overseas should be fired. For incompetence. Period. End of story.

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