What Impact Will the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Have On Your Supply Chain?

According to a recent press release over on the IHS site, stringent new counterfeit-part regulations in the 2012 U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) may have broad international implications that could impact hundreds of of overseas companies that supply Billions of dollars’ worth of items to the U.S. Government. This act, which was signed into the US law on December 31, 2011, not only authorized 662 Billion in funding “for the defense of the US and its interests abroad”, not only included Title X, Subtitle D on “Counter-Terrorism” which deal with the detention of persons the government suspects of involvement in terrorism, but also contains 8-page section 818 on the “detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts” buried in its 565 pages.

This section states that the secretary of the department of defense shall issue or revise guidance … which … shall address requirements for training personnel, making sourcing decision, ensuring traceability of parts and shall revise … the Federal Acquisition Regulation to address the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts and The revised regulations … shall provide that … covered contractors who supply electronic parts or products that include electronic parts are responsible for detecting and avoiding the use or inclusion of counterfeit electronic parts or suspect counterfeit electronic parts in such products and for any rework or corrective action that may be required to remedy the use or inclusion of such parts.

In addition, the act states that the Secretary of Defense shall implement a program to enhance contractor detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts and the program … shall require covered contractors that supply electronic parts or systems that contain electronic parts to establish policies and procedures to eliminate counterfeit electronic parts from the defense supply chain, which policies and procedures shall address

  1. the training of personnel
  2. the inspection and testing of electronic parts
  3. processes to abolish counterfeit parts proliferation
  4. mechanisms to enable traceability of parts
  5. use of trusted suppliers
  6. the reporting and quarantining of counterfeit electronic parts and suspect counterfeit electronic parts
  7. methodologies to identify suspect counterfeit parts and to rapidly determine if a suspect counterfeit parts is, in fact, counterfeit
  8. the design, operation, and maintenance of systems to detect and avoid counterfeit electronic parts and suspect counterfeit electronic parts, and
  9. the flow down of counterfeit avoidance and detection requirements to subcontractors

And many other requirements, along with punishments for offenses which an include 2 and 5 Million dollar fines for individuals and 5 Million and 15 Million dollar fines for corporations for first offenses with second offenses garnering fines of up to 30 Million dollars.

This is of grave concern, because the legislation applies not just to counterfeit parts, but suspect counterfeit parts. An organization that supplies parts that are suspected to be counterfeit, whether proven counterfeit or not, will have to remedy the situation on its own dime (which could cost Millions to mint), and if it doesn’t do so satisfactorily, could be fined Millions of dollars on suspicion. And given that the reports of counterfeit parts have soared dramatically in the last two years, with 1,363 separate verified counterfeit-part incidents in 2011 as compared to 324 in 2009, this is a serious concern for anyone supplying products to the US Government. Given that many of these counterfeit parts are commercial electronic components that have wide use across every major technology end market, this is an especially serious concern for suppliers and manufacturers in electronics supply chains.

It would appear that this puts the need for supply chain security and risk management in your electronics supply chain at an all time high, now that even suspected fraud can bankrupt your company. The impact of this legislation could be much worst than 10+2. What do you think?