Senate OKs Levin-McCain plan on fake military parts

“During the course of the committee’s investigation, virtually every one of the dozens of people our investigators have spoken with — from defense contractors to semiconductor manufacturers to electronic component brokers — has pointed to China,” Levin said earlier this month.

The committee's study found more than 1,800 cases where fake electronic parts found their way into the U.S. defense supply chain, mostly from China.

“These counterfeit parts endanger our troops, harm national security and cost taxpayers,” Levin said Tuesday. “The flood of counterfeit parts must stop, and this amendment provides tools and incentives that will help stop it.”

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“Counterfeit parts pose an increasing risk to our national security, to the reliability of our weapons systems and to the safety of our men and women in uniform,” McCain said Tuesday. “This legislation will inject some much needed integrity, transparency, and accountability into the defense supply chain, help customs officials intercept these counterfeits, and ensure that prosecutors bring the full weight of justice down on those who traffic in military counterfeits.”

The probe found fake parts were fitted on a Navy SH-60B helicopter and a P-8 Poseidon aircraft; an Air Force C-130J cargo plane, a C-27J transport plane and a C-17 cargo aircraft; and on Marine Corps and Army choppers such as the AH-64 and CH-46.

The Levin-McCain plan would bar contractors from charging the Pentagon for the costs of replacing fake parts, while also to, when possible, buy electronic components only from “authorized dealers or trusted suppliers,” according to a summary of the amendment.

It would require the Department of Homeland Security to fashion a methodology to beef up inspection of electronic parts, and mandate that large defense firms set up processes to better detect counterfeit parts.

Notably, it “authorizes reductions in contract payments to contractors who fail to do so,” according to the summary.

The plan would have to make it through a House-Senate conference on the Pentagon policy bill before becoming law.