The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said it supports a newly finalized Department of Defense (DoD) rule aimed at reducing the risk of counterfeit semiconductors being used in weapons systems and other military equipment.
The final DoD rule addresses contractor responsibilities for detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts. The rule implements section 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which calls for DoD to use trusted suppliers to mitigate the risks of counterfeits.
The DoD rule will help "stem the tide of dangerous counterfeit semiconductor products by mandating that DoD contractors purchase from original manufacturers or authorized sources," said Brian Toohey, SIA president and CEO, in a statement. The rule is a "significant step toward ensuring the safety and security of semiconductor products used by our military," Toohey said.
Toohey noted that counterfeit semiconductors can end up in consumer, industrial, medical, and military devices, "potentially undermining our public safety and national security."
The rule requires contractors and their subcontractors to establish a counterfeit electronic part and avoidance system that is subject to audit. The system must include procedures to show that the contractors purchased parts from original manufacturers, authorized distributors, or authorized aftermarket distributors before turning to other outlets.
The SIA said it has long advocated for measures to stop the proliferation of counterfeit semiconductors.
Counterfeit parts are introduced into the electronics supply chain in several ways. In some cases, counterfeiters will pull parts from old printed circuit boards and remark them as new parts.
In other cases, a counterfeiter will take a batch of semiconductors and label them as being higher performing parts than they actually are. In some instances, counterfeits will get their hands on parts that were scrapped by a semiconductor manufacturer because the chips failed performance tests. The counterfeiters will then sell the parts as fully functional chips.
Fake parts are often indistinguishable from authentic semiconductors and are sold into the electronics supply chain by unscrupulous parts brokers.
"By working together to implement common sense policies like this DoD rule, we can win the fight against counterfeit semiconductor products and help ensure the safety of technologies that are vital to America's economic and national security," Toohey said.