Counterfeits Endanger Lives of US Troops

The Government Accountability Office has set up a fake company with fictitious owners and employers in an effort to gain access to Internet platforms that sell military-grade electronics, Richard Hillman, managing director of the GAO’s forensic audits and investigative service, told members of the Senate Armed Service Committee Tuesday. Hillman said the “company” is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the GAO into the availability of such counterfeit parts. So far, the audit team has purchased 13 “rare or obsolete parts” and has completed testing on seven of those parts—all of which are “suspect counterfeit” and all of which were purchased and received from vendors in China, said Hillman. In one instance, the vendor “misrepresented” the part, claiming it was nine years newer than it actually was. “Counterfeit parts—generally those whose sources knowingly misrepresent the parts’ identity or pedigree—have the potential to seriously disrupt the Department of Defense supply chain, delay missions, affect the integrity of weapon systems, and ultimately endanger the lives of our troops,” states the preliminary report.