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Counterfeit Military Parts Threaten National Security, Probe Finds

C-5 Galaxy cargo plane
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Above: C-5 Galaxy cargo plane

Counterfeit electronic parts from China have made their way into the U.S. military supply chain and are threatening national security, according to a year-long Senate Armed Services Committee investigation.

The investigation found roughly 1,800 cases of counterfeit parts being used in U.S. military equipment. More than one million fake parts were involved in those 1,800 cases, according to a news release from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Some of the military equipment in which the phone parts were found include the U.S. Air Force’s largest cargo plane and a U.S. Navy surveillance plane.

Senator John McCain, ranking member of the committee, said of the probe's findings:

“Our committee’s report makes it abundantly clear that vulnerabilities throughout the defense supply chain allow counterfeit electronic parts to infiltrate critical U.S. military systems, risking our security and the lives of the men and women who protect it. As directed by last year’s Defense Authorization bill, the Department of Defense and its contractors must attack this problem more aggressively, particularly since counterfeiters are becoming better at shielding their dangerous fakes from detection.”

But Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters yesterday the Department of Defense is doing everything within its power to stop the counterfeit parts from entering the U.S. military supply chain.

“We’re unaware to date of any loss of life or catastrophic mission failure that has occurred because of counterfeit parts. That doesn’t mean we should stop addressing the issue. We will not stop until we strengthen our efforts to identify, prevent and detect these pieces of equipment from entering our supply chain.”

Little added that the Department of Defense has been working with numerous law enforcement agencies to investigate the problem of counterfeit parts and to fully punish those caught participating in illegal activities.

To read the report on the Senate committee investigation, click here.

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