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GAO Sting Finds More Fake Military Parts From China 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the dangerous-because-of-the-lead-based-paint dept.
Nidi62 writes "The Government Accountability Office, through a fictitious company, recently requisitioned parts from China in order to determine if the Chinese government was living up to its promises of battling counterfeit parts. The report from the GAO found that '334 of 396 vendors who offered to sell parts to the fictitious company were from China' and that 'all 16 parts eventually purchased by the fake company came from 13 China-based vendors and all were determined by an independent testing laboratory to be counterfeit.' The parts requested were supposedly for use in F-15s, MV-22 Ospreys, and nuclear submarines, and were requested as new parts. The report (PDF) also says that in the past three years, over one million counterfeit parts came from Chinese companies. This stands in sharp contrast to the Chinese government's promise to clamp down on the production of counterfeit parts in China."
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GAO Sting Finds More Fake Military Parts From China

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:22AM (#39505035)

    China looks out for China, nobody else.

    • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:49AM (#39505209)

      China looks out for China, nobody else.

      Yes, but the recent few weeks seems to be US looking out for US - by trumpeting an ever-growing tirade against China across a number of political fields - manufacture, technology (hacking) and a bunch of others. The last time the US seemed to do this with such fervor, they invaded Iraq a few months later. The time before that, it built up to the war in Afghanistan. I typically don't worry too much about the US bitching about this or that, but when it reaches a critical level, bad things seem to happen in quick succession - and that makes me worried.

      • by khallow (566160) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:53AM (#39505227)
        It's an election year. Politicians are currently looking for issues with legs, um, that "resonate with the voter". A good hate for China might help certain congresscritters with their primaries or a certain someone to look presidential.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:14AM (#39505299)

          It's an election year. Politicians are currently looking for issues with legs, um, that "resonate with the voter". A good hate for China might help certain congresscritters with their primaries or a certain someone to look presidential.

          Spot on. Playing with foreign threats (real or not) is a great way to gain local support. Everyone does their part to fight the common enemy. With the enemy defeated, a new enemy is fabricated and the cycle repeats. Without this kind of trick controlling a democracy would be way more expensive, but it'd also be far more interesting.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm all for the US being less of an international douchebag, but if they're calling out bad shit China is actually doing, isn't that a good thing?

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        No way we'd go that far with China, our corporate masters are too addicted to the massive profits they get by dumping their toxic waste out the back doors of their plants in China and the people are too addicted to CCC, aka Cheapo Chinese Crap.

        I'd say the bigger question is WHAT THE FUCK are they doing with plans for our planes detailed enough they can crank out knockoff parts? Have we REALLY gotten as bad as Huckabee said and our military can't run without CCC either? I mean if we are just gonna have pa

  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:24AM (#39505043) Homepage

    I thought there was security issues from buying parts in countries we don't particularly trust.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      The one thing we really shouldn't outsource is this kind of stuff. Making it in our own country wouldn't make it invulnerable from bad stuff being put in during the manufacturing process but it would greatly, greatly reduce the chances of anything bad happening.

      • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:34AM (#39505397)

        The whole point of this is that even when they are trying not to outsource, but when they attempt to buy "made in USA" parts it turns out that lots of stuff being sold to them is actually sourced indirectly from China and made to look like the US parts. Looking at the parts they are examining it's pretty interesting. For example, bit that protect against anti-static discharge; presumably ones where long term stability is critical and breakdowns like the capacitor plague [wikipedia.org] would be a complete pain.

        This is pretty difficult because, in the end, nobody can keep all the parts in stock. You have to go to a shop. The shop has to go to a supplier and so on. At any point in that chain there are people who have a good motive to swap out the good component (which can be sold on at US prices or used to make reliable equipment) for a fake component which costs much less.

        The free market selects exactly for components which work for some time but fail shortly after the testing period or guarantee period. I'd be interested to see what the effect of European two year guarantees is on the level of fake components in distribution. Probably not enough; you really need at least five years and a government testing lab willing to prove that inadequate components were used to even have a chance of pushing back against this.

        • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Thursday March 29, 2012 @02:01AM (#39505473)

          This is pretty difficult because, in the end, nobody can keep all the parts in stock.

          No, that's horseshit.

          Look, for all the money we spend on defense we can afford to have secure warehouses of all the stuff we need.

          Look at the A-10 Thunderbolt. That airframe is a precise weapon of destruction. It has served faithfully for years and it's tough as all hell. The A-10 is a marvel of engineering in every way.

          It's also impossible to build new ones. Why? Because the supply chain doesn't exist anymore. The plans are gone. It'd be like trying to build a brand new shuttle - it just isn't feasible. You'd have to reverse-engineer an existing one.

          This is, frankly, idiotic. It's rare to have created a machine so perfect. The A-10 is going to be in service at least through to 2028. That's a testament to its staying power, and it's sad that we're not going to see any new ones created.

          • by wierd_w (1375923) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @02:34AM (#39505641)

            I work in aerospace. Ironically, in quality.

            The problem is likely to be counterfiet material (stock material sold as 2025, or 7075, but is really some gods awful alloy of who knows what, but you would never know the difference because it weighs the same, mills the same, and looks the same...... until you do a hardness test, a conductivity test, and a vapor assa test.)

            Other things likely counterfieted:

            Bolts. Nuts. Nutplates. Washers. Rivets. Paint. Adhesives.

            We literally order NAS and BACD nutplates and rivets by lots of 1 million. We go through those things like diabetic children dig through candy. It would be *really* easy for our suppliers to slip us a mickey, and sell us bogus nutplates. Those things have specifications they have to meet, concerning their material composition, degree of heat treat, size, and overal dimensions, including weight, and finish. Once cooked up though, are you *really* going to check each and every nutplate in a bin of 1 million to look for counterfeits?

            That's the problem. Counterfeit rivets and nutplates throw a monkey wrench in a product's expected lifecycle. Shitty rivets crack out. They corrode. They induce the rest of the assembly to corrode. They respond incorrectly to changing pressure... on and on and on.

            Similar with bad adhesives and finishes.

            What, are you going to expect every plant in america to do wet chemistry testing on all their paints, primers, and sealants? In addition to vapor testing each and every rivet and nutplate?

            Can't be done. Airplanes would cost billions of dollars each.

            The US govt wants to crack down on it? Here's an idea: customs can do its fucking job, and search cargo containers from china for counterfiet goods.

            That way the cheap chinese knockoffs don't get mixed into fungible supply bins, and we don't have this problem.

            • by neyla (2455118) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @02:55AM (#39505767)

              You don't have to. To the contrary, checking becomes *easier* when you order a larger quantity of an item.

              If you've received a million nutplates, pick 100 of them randomly, and check them thoroughly. Reject the entire shipment if any of those 100 are counterfeit.

              If more than 1% of the nutplates are fake, you'd be likely to detect it, and if more than 10% of the plates are fakes, you'd be virtually guaranteed to detect it. Thus when all 100 check out as genuine, it's unlikely that there's more than a few percent fakes, tops.

              At that point, it's probably not worth it to the supplier to fake the delivery. Yes they can put in 1% fakes and 99% reals, and hope that it's not detected (their odds of this are about even).

              But having 50:50 odds of getting away with 1% fraud while 50% of the time your entire shipment is rejected, just isn't profitable.

              In contrast, it's hard to do reasonable checking when you order a *low* count of some part, say 3.

              Statistical sampling *works*. You really -can- test the quality of a million-gallon-delivery of whatever by picking a few random samples, and test those.

              • by sFurbo (1361249)

                Statistical sampling *works*. You really -can- test the quality of a million-gallon-delivery of whatever by picking a few random samples, and test those.

                Only if you can get a representative sample. Getting that from a liquid is easy, getting that from a crate of nutplates isn't. It can be done, but you need to carefully think about how it is done.

                • If you're sourcing millions of units for vital military assets, then it's only prudent to think carefully about it.

                • Statistical sampling *works*. You really -can- test the quality of a million-gallon-delivery of whatever by picking a few random samples, and test those.

                  Only if you can get a representative sample. Getting that from a liquid is easy, getting that from a crate of nutplates isn't. It can be done, but you need to carefully think about how it is done.

                  You are going to get not just one crate, but multiple crates. Pick one at random, or better yet, pick several at random, dump their content off, pick stuff off it, and put the rest back into their crates. A nutplate (or similar stuff) has a specific volume and mass, so one can estimate how much volume or mass 10, 100 or 1000 of those suckers would take. So we use that to pick stuff out of a randomly picked crates for analysis. Right there one can check if volume/mass ratios correspond to what they should be

                  • by sFurbo (1361249)

                    You are going to get not just one crate, but multiple crates. Pick one at random, or better yet, pick several at random

                    Good so far

                    dump their content off, pick stuff off it,

                    No, that is not a random sample. You need to make sure that every nutplate in the crate have the same probability of being chosen. In your example, nutplates at the bottom of the plate will end up in the top of the pile, and will have a higher chance of being sampled. You need to either make a stream of plates which you can sample at random intervals, of divide the crate into subsamples, which you then sample randomly. Placing it back in the container in small portions, and randomly selecting som

                    • by neyla (2455118)

                      While true you miss the point. I was arguing that it's *not* impossible to check a billion-nutplate-delivery in a practical manner, and infact that it's *easier* to do so than it is to check a 3-gadget-delivery.

                      Slight imperfections in sampling can be compensated by increasing the sample-count, and in any case it probably does not matter.

                      If 10% of the nutplates are fake, and you sample 100 of them randomly, the odds of non-detection are 1:38000 even if fake nutplates are *free* (they're not) you'd save 10% o

            • by Ihmhi (1206036)

              That's the problem. Counterfeit rivets and nutplates throw a monkey wrench in a product's expected lifecycle. Shitty rivets crack out. They corrode.

              Do you honestly think counterfeit or sub-par stuff would come up in America?

              If the penalty weren't a laugh and a handshake because someone in China fucked up it'd be a non-issue. If your business lost a government contract as a result, you could bet your life on those nuts and bolts.

            • What, are you going to expect every plant in america to do wet chemistry testing on all their paints, primers, and sealants? In addition to vapor testing each and every rivet and nutplate? Can't be done. Airplanes would cost billions of dollars each.

              Statistical sampling?

              The US govt wants to crack down on it? Here's an idea: customs can do its fucking job, and search cargo containers from china for counterfiet goods.

              That is a good idea, but not without problems. You'll have to equip every Customs port with reasonable equipment to test for that kind of stuff. It is one thing to test if a perfume (in a perfume lot of thousands) is counterfeit (the specs are quite simplistic), quite another to test if a capacitor or rivet (in a lot of millions) is up to specs running the gamut of tests necessary.

              What could be done is for Customs to do the most basic of tests with a small sample (1/10000), and some l

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            You are abit off on the A-10, as both the toolings and he detailed plans are in longterm storage - the DoD retains the ability to restart production at any time, it just needs funding. It's actually a rarity for military aircraft toolings and plans to be destroyed, most of the time they are stored for later use.

            With the F-22 shutdown, Lockheed spent millions of dollars on video documenting every aspect of production, with the line workers detailing what they do and how they doit, so production can be picke

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        The problem is not China interfering with the parts, it is that they are knock-offs or recycled when they are supposed to be new.

        The military should be able to go directly to the manufacturer, in which case having the parts made in China isn't such a big deal. The problem here is that they use suppliers who are basically just middle-men. By going to the manufacturers directly they could be sure they were getting genuine parts.

        Problem is that a lot of the parts are probably obsolete now. Military hardware ca

    • In a new development to this story, a new series of tests run after acquiring new testing equipment (from China) and new software (from China) determined that the parts previously identified as counterfeit were in fact genuine.

      Scared yet? You should be.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We do and we don't. Military (especially classified) equipment is 100% manufactured in the U.S. but since we don't have the industrial base (not to mention the fact that its economically nonviable) to produce the sheer number required in a practical time frame (no sense in stopping the tire assembly line every week just so the engine assembly line can catch up), we have overseas manufacturers produce parts to make up for shortfalls.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      I thought there was security issues from buying parts in countries we don't particularly trust.

      Only when they aren't significantly cheaper.

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:26AM (#39505053) Homepage Journal

    The federal government of the United States should not blame China for this, it's called being Shanghaied for a reason, and it's not a new term.

    The reason the market is ripe for these sorts of problems is the governments own fault. There used to be lots of chipmakers in the United States. It costs to much to do business in the United States. Businesses have gotten in bed with the government and bought their own representatives and more important industry regulators to control the market to benefit the biggest players. When the biggest players can no longer afford to do business here they pick up and leave the country but the regulations they paid for remain.

    Mix that with an unfavorable tax economy, actual government incentives to send business overseas (still haven't figured that one out), and punishment via tax brackets for people who attempt to move up in class and of course the market is ripe for China to supply fake chips. We ran all the good businesses out of the country, just how many lobbyist DOES China have?

    • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:30AM (#39505085)

      You started out right, then you ended very wrong. Tax policy in this country didn't start being a problem until we decided to go Free Market; translation, forcing US companies to compete with Chinese companies that don't give a shit about human rights, worker rights, or environmental rights. It's impossible for US companies to be competitive with a company that can dump its waste behind the factory, work its employees like slaves, and treat its citizens like government property.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by pecosdave (536896) *

        I don't know, USA Today [usatoday.com] seems to agree with me, as does Hilary Clinton and Obama. Here's another. [economicpopulist.org]

        I'm not digging for it right now, but it seems articles have run here on Slashdot about help desk jobs moving to India partially because the government made it the most logical step.

      • by Formalin (1945560)

        You forgot the part about how they can counterfeit with relative impunity, as well.

        • by pecosdave (536896) *

          There's another thing I question.

          If the "real" chips were outsourced to China to begin with, then China kept producing the chips in the same factory by the same people, even after the original orders were fulfilled, are they really "counterfeit" or just "chips without the royalties"?

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Counterfeiters generally skip QA inspection on the chips, so you might end up with a chip rated for milspec (temperature, g force and other) but won't live up to the requirements. Or maybe the chip is a CPU and they mark it for 3 GHz but in fact it will only survive a few months at that speed.

          • I thought the same thing, but reading the article they present the example of contracting to purchase new chips of a certain type and what they were delivered were old recycled chips from the 80's and 90's that were salvaged from discarded equipment, ground down and remarked as the new chip the contract required.

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            Depends if you trust the Chinese company to certify the chips. Are they maintaining the standards that the original manufacturer set down? Do they do all the same testing? Often a chip or entire PCB might be made in China but only fully tested when it arrives for assembly in the US.

          • by Khashishi (775369)

            Sometimes, but in this case, the real hardware is supposed to all be American made.

      • by Gordonjcp (186804)

        To be fair the US also seems to treat its citizens like government property, and people in the US appear to be worked like slaves.

        I don't know anyone in the US who does less than a 40-hour week, and many of them do over 50 hours.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by pecosdave (536896) *

          I know plenty who do less than 40, but I wouldn't exactly consider them the most productive members of society >40 is usually closer to 0 than 40 with most of these people.

          You are right about government meddling having a lot to do with that. The administrative cost of an employee to a business owner beyond what an employee immediately sees in many businesses is due to regulations and requirements that prevents companies from hiring more people. In turn they simply demand more of the people they do hav

          • You are right about government meddling having a lot to do with that.

            The only entity that is meddling with anything, is the business. Businesses are using their position of influence to effect force, which is constructed out of the ability to remove choice.

            The administrative cost of an employee to a business owner beyond what an employee immediately sees in many businesses is due to regulations and requirements that prevents companies from hiring more people. In turn they simply demand more of the people they do have. This is part of the reason staffing firms are so popular, they put the burden of the employment paperwork and benefits on someone else and remove much of the legal liability that can be associated with firing someone.

            That is the very reason why staffing agencies need to die a sudden, painful death. This can be done via requiring cost/liability parity for all forms of labor, in any function or form, making it illegal to perform such liability/benefit circumvention, or a full ban on non-FTE labor for anything. In addition, kill offsho

            • by pecosdave (536896) *

              You really want some of the most dishonest people out there to make dishonesty impossible?

              I'm 100% for the legality of off-shoring, I'm very much against policies at home making the idea more appealing than it needs to be. The more you ask the government to do (and it sounds like you want them to do a lot) the bigger they become and the greater our problems are.

              Staffing agencies wouldn't even be necessary - most of the time - if the regulations that make them desirable would either go away or become less c

              • by sethstorm (512897)

                More dishonest or closer to the public? It is business that shields a politician from the majority of their own constituents.

                The largest reason staffing agencies exist, is to provide a worker-hostile regulatory firewall. It allows business to do to workers what business would oppose for unions. To restore consistency, a Right To Directly Work law must be established - such that it discourages staffing agencies in the same manner that Right To Work discourages unions.

                As for offshoring, it is only a distor

      • "...and whose citizens are government property."

        FTFY

      • I'm European. We have different views over here, while still being free-market capitalists.

        Our EU parliament and commissioners have been working for a while to even up the regulatory shortfall by assessing the likely economic benefits per product of not complying with environmental legislation and adding that cost as an import tax, the idea being to require suppliers making products for EU markets to produce them to EU environmental standards, or pay a tax that would be designed to cancel out the economi
        • Thats funny. I have been screaming that America needs to do the same here. And there is a MUCH simpler way to solve this. Quit trying to look at what the parts are. Instead, simply charge all items based on the CO2 (or other pollutants) that are produced from said area. The reason is that companies and nations will go to great lengths to avoid documenting these. So, for carbon, the best way is to use a satellite that views the CO2(out over the border) and subtract CO2(in over the border). For items like M
      • by Khashishi (775369)

        It's impossible for US companies to be competitive with a company that can dump its waste behind the factory, work its employees like slaves, and treat its citizens like government property.

        Don't worry, the Republican congress is working hard to ensure that US corporations can stay competitive by eliminating regulations on dumping waste behind the factory, working employees like slaves, and treating citizens like government properties.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It doesn't cost too much to do business here. It's just cheaper over there. You want all those jobs back from China? Turn the clock back about a hundred years, say goodbye to our quality of life, and enjoy your low-wage assembly line jobs. But then you'd have a whole new group of people complaining about the jobs that they lost.
      (I don't know what those jobs are, exactly, but considering our insanely high GDP in this country they must be doing something.)

      The reason why those things aren't made here anymore i

      • by pecosdave (536896) *

        You've got some great points there, especially with the Europe/Airbus reference.

        I do disagree however with we can't do everything at once. We can. We have a lot of land mass, a lot of people, and no shortage of talented people or of people without a lot of talent but can and will work on an assembly line.

        We can make doing business here more attractive without becoming isolationist and we can do it in a way that actually increases our own employment, lowers individual and corporate taxes while balancing th

        • No body is arguing that you are not able to. it's no joke that comparative advantage is literally on the first pages of most undergraduate college economics books. It's like the basic fundamental principle and not following it is insanely stupid waste of countries resources.
      • You want all those jobs back from China?

        Ironclad regulation would restore work by eliminating the avenues for which businesses could avoid citizens.

        The reason why those things aren't made here anymore is because of comparative advantage. We can still manufacture those things as good or better as China, but we do other things even better. And because we focus on those other things, and because we can't do everything at once, those manufacturing jobs moved overseas.

        Comparative advantage is a stack of fallacies:

        * That we can't do everything at once
        * That there is something better that we can do
        * That everyone is suited to the new task

        The US has the people and the resources to do all the manufacturing required and to modern-day standards. The problem rests with business - for they are the cause of sub-par conditions via their preference for slavery.

        We should buy cheap parts from China, and the Air Force should buy their tankers from Airbus. Why? Because those countries foolishly subsidize those products; China with the blood and sweat of their population; Europe with hard currency. So its basically a hand-out for us. We'd be fools not to buy those things, and in the tanker case we actually are being supremely foolish. All this hand waving about patriotism and security will just end up lining the pockets of defense contractors, without any proven improvements in security.

        While you hand

    • There used to be lots of chipmakers in the United States. It costs to much to do business in the United States.

      Bullshit. As is demonstrated by TFA.

      You want it done right then you pay for it to be done right.
      Finding someone who will do it cheaper and do it wrong is easy.

      • Ah but see the problem is that, in a very broken way, it *is* cheaper.

        You get a lower initial cost buy buying shit from skeevy chinese shops that you know are likely to screw you. But by the time the investigations and reporting is over the product is already in use and it's no longer a matter of getting the budget approved on a new bit of equipment. Once it's in the field it becomes much easier to get funding to fix a problem.

    • by rhook (943951)

      The federal government of the United States should not blame China for this, it's called being Shanghaied for a reason, and it's not a new term.

      Who said anything about forcing sailors to work on ships?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghaiing [wikipedia.org]

      "Shanghaiing refers to the practice of conscripting men as sailors by coercive techniques such as trickery, intimidation, or violence. Those engaged in this form of kidnapping were known as crimps. Until 1915, unfree labor was widely used aboard American merchant ships. The related term press gang refers specifically to impressment practices in Great Britain's Royal Navy."

    • There used to be lots of chipmakers in the United States.

      Used [wikipedia.org] to? [wikipedia.org] (That's AMD's spin off).

      It appears the US is still a major player in the CPU market. China's current huge advantage isn't the ability to make top-end chips. Its advantage is in rock bottom assembly prices, combined with the flexibility to make almost overnight changes to manufacturing processes. That flexibility is partly due to their reliance on cheap human labor that might even be on call 24 hours a day. If you try to change a process in a mechanized/automated plant, it takes time and very p

    • And yet, Offshore companies say that the taxes and regulations are NOT issues here. In fact, as is regularly pointed out, taxes are higher in Germany, and regulations are much tougher through most of the west. In fact, they like not having to bribe or not being sued later for obeying the regs. Even the unions are a non-issue. So, that tired argument just does not make it.

      We have 2 issues. The first is that our LEGAL system is now a nightmare. We sue on a dime. We stop new factories for just about anything
      • by pecosdave (536896) *

        I'm going to argue the legal system IS government. Yes it is a nightmare, and yes there are elements of our society that abuse the shit out of the legal system. Not just welfare queens turned lawsuit queens but the abusive sue your competitors out of business approach to things so many companies have. Since the justice system is government run and laws are the definition of government our legal nightmares are still government issues.

        The pump and dump stock problem is very real, maybe we can start trying

  • How can they be surprised that China's pirating designs? For that matter, substandard military parts aren't limited to China. I've heard of several cases of manufacturers here in the USA who didn't care to supply the best.

  • Lenin was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluemonq (812827) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:34AM (#39505115)

    Turns out, the capitalists won't be selling the rope with which they'll be hanged. They'll be paying for it themselves.

  • ...they need to buy parts from all of the vendors and use our international investigative abilities to find out who the actual people selling the parts are, then test the parts. When parts come back bad, we need to ensure that we don't do business with those people again, and that we publish who we bought from and what the results are. That might stop a lot of companies from buying from those vendors. It certainly wouldn't stop all, but it could help.
  • Why did they need to waste money on a sting operation? Correction: why did they need to wast MORE money...? And granted the U.S. trades with China, but why the fuck would they source military parts from a country that is openly antagonistic if not outright aggressive to one of their allies, namely Taiwan? Or who backs North Korea all the way. Or who supports Iran getting nuclear capability. Don't they remember that Chinese fighter planes aggressively caused a mid air collision and forced an American navy su

    • If the government is going to spend hard earned tax dollars, they might as well buy from American companies who operate factories in America. Or does "Buy American" mean buying from companies who outsource jobs to China?

      It's the second one.

      The companies want bigger profits.
      So the companies outsource whatever they can, wherever they can.
      And our government decides that that supply chain is "good enough".

      All the government has to do is require that the parts be made 100% in the USofA and there would be a huge

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:58AM (#39505465) Journal

      They did not order anything from China. They ordered it from American companies which were supposed to have them manufactured locally, but instead they've got Chinese-made parts.

    • by tftp (111690)

      If the government is going to spend hard earned tax dollars, they might as well buy from American companies who operate factories in America.

      Most of gate-level logic and other silicon is made in Asia on their fabs, even if nominally the design is owned by TI or Fairchild or IDT.

      Another problem is that the government is legally required to announce when it wants to buy something, and then it has to pick the vendor who offers a compliant part for the lowest price. In this "compliant" means "they say it's

  • counterfit? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bigdavex (155746) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:07AM (#39505259)

    These aren't expensive handbags. What does counterfeit mean? Do the parts meet the specifications?
     

    • Re:counterfit? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @02:12AM (#39505523)

      Counterfeit, in this context, usually means made with inferior materials that wear out faster.

    • Re:counterfit? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Suddenly_Dead (656421) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @03:10AM (#39505867)

      They're parts being sold with fake product numbers and manufacturing dates to make it look like they came from an original parts manufacturer. Some of them probably don't meet specifications, and the danger is that you can't tell without testing them because they're misrepresenting themselves as being from a reputable source. That's definitely no good when these parts are being installed in aircraft and weapons.

      As another example of potentially dangerous counterfeits, there's counterfeit climbing gear [grough.co.uk] floating around out there that apparently fails at forces far lower than it's claimed to be rated for.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partnair_Flight_394 [wikipedia.org]
      Specifications are that they look and 'feel' the same. How they work is not really an issue for the seller.
      Use counterfeit parts and you risk mid air fall apart.
      Security cleared, fit, healthy, g force rated crews vs what an aerospace company can lobby a US politician over allowing legal imports...
  • as a conservative republican, i am glad to see that the US government is embracing the free enterprise system of capitalism.

    the chinese communist party is clearly our ally in this movement towards freedom.

    the labor unions? not so much. buncha commies.

  • I would think that installing Chinese-sourced electronics in F-15s might lead to a compromise of the F-15s availability in war time.
    I thought the US had experience in supplying sabotage parts to the former USSR, I am surprised we would buy parts from a nation that is less than our best friend.
    • It is amazing how low America has sunk over the last 10 years. You would think that a president that was a history major would know better than to have gutted our manufacturing capability. Now, we need to bring this back.
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:18AM (#39505317) Homepage Journal
    an Iranian Tomcat and a modern US military system?
    Iran knows where its jets came from.
  • by rrohbeck (944847)

    Why would the US military buy parts made in China?
    And if they do, why wouldn't they do it with strict specs and quality controls?
    Everybody knows that you get crap from China if you don't look very closely. We have quality people traveling to China all the time.
    Those backplanes that started to overheat and smolder from ions left in the material due to rinsing with tap water and the resultant 100% recall were fun.

  • As China did so amongst themselves a while ago(heavy bags of rice where cannons should be), they do to others today.

  • If the US DoD are purchasing electronic components on the secondary market from marketplaces like ICSource, IC2IC and posting RFQ's with NATO part numbers expecting the Chinese vendors to decipher them and then interpret the MIL standards they specify with complete accuracy then they need their heads checked.
    Vendors peddling re-manufactured / recycled stock or stock with modified date codes will be the least of their worries.

    If they expect that level of accuracy and QC with no effort on their part then the

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      were they counterfeit produced "pirate" products or just plain _wrong_ parts? big difference there.

  • I suspect that this comes down to American weapons manufacturers losing business and getting their cronies in the government to make some noise about it.

    That being said, I do think that the military shouldn't be buying anything (a) off the Internet from unknown entities and (b) from anyone but the original equipment manufacturer. Seems surprising in fact, that they could do so. Perhaps there are middle man providers who are supposed to be selling OEM parts but who themselves are buying on the Internet.

  • They set up a sting that bought just 16 items. Did they also ensure that the purchases were made from sources that they expected to get fakes from or did they carry out a genuine 'best value' procurement? If they did the former, this sounds trivial. Any good purchasing decision should ensure a check on the reputation and record of the vendor.
  • America's manufacturing has been giving up their ability. At the same time, China is in a cold war with the west and is using the very same technique that America used against USSR. This is not about profits. It is about knowing what we are up to and gleaning what information they can. It would be in the west's interest to return the military/intel back to the security that we had during the USSR cold war. That includes bringing back our electronic manufacturing and steel work. Likewise, America needs to a
  • OK I read all 3 links... can't tell whether these are specificly counterfeited weapons parts or whether these are standard parts (e.g. sound card) that may be used in a military application. There's a bit of a difference. Specific parts made specifically for a military use is a different problem than military purchases of standard grade electronics. Did the GAO simply type "sound card wanted" into Alibaba.com? Difficult to tell from the GAO report whether this is hype, but the two stories ABOUT the G

  • China is a country to which we keep a nuclear deterrence, in the eyes of many members of congress. When they approve a new start treaty or an arms bill, theyre thinking of china when once they thought of russia.

    the cautious approach to china, that is accepting its slave labour with one hand and readying yourself for war with the other, is the ultimate hypocrisy of american capitalism. That you can simultaneously consider a country an enemy and a trading partner shows just how far free market economics
  • Scary thing is fake parts also find their way into commercial aircraft as well. There is a large black market for cloned aircraft parts and low budget airlines cant resist buying them and they are hard to tell if they are real or not.
  • If you're building fighter jets, nuclear reactors and submarines, why would you buy parts from anywhere but direct from the manufacturer?

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