Power Electronics

ECIA Submits Comments to DFARS on Counterfeit Electronic Parts Case

Proposed rule aligns with past ECIA recommendations, but more changes are needed.

Confirming once again the importance of sourcing components through the authorized channel, ECIA, speaking on behalf of the electronic components industry has submitted detailed comments to Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS) Case 2014-D005.  The rule covers the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts. A complete copy of the comments submitted on December 9, 2015 by Robin B. Gray, Jr., chief operating officer and general counsel, ECIA, can be found here.

"ECIA strongly believes that counterfeit parts constitute a significant threat to the health and safety of U.S. citizens," says Gray in the letter submitted to the rulemaking committee. "Some of the terminology proposed in this rule would further complicate and confuse a jumbled industry lexicology," Gray explains. "For example, ECIA supports that the term 'authorized dealer' be deleted and replaced with the term 'authorized distributor'," he continued. "Further, the expansive, proposed definition of 'trusted supplier' introduces significant challenges to a risk-based approach for the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic components. 'Trusted' and 'trustworthy' do not equate to authenticity or performance," he contends.

The comments primarily address industry-specific language and terminology issues, and are intended to clarify the rule to enable companies to implement reasonable policies to prevent counterfeit parts from being used by defense contractors. For example, the association strongly supports the proposal to remove the language 'embedded software and firmware' from the definition of 'electronic part'. According to Gray, the introduction of 'tainted' software and firmware into integrated circuits is a complex issue and is more appropriately addressed in a separate rulemaking process. The ECIA's comments focus on five specific areas:

1.      Authorized dealer

2.      Trusted supplier

3.      Policy

4.      Traceability

5.      Flow down requirements

As an advocate for the components industry, ECIA is committed to the importance of buying parts through the authorized channel. "In a risk-based environment, purchasing from the original manufacturer or the manufacturer's authorized distributor is the least risky option to obtain genuine parts that meet the manufacturer's performance specifications. All other sources increase the risk of obtaining counterfeit parts and should not be considered prima facie trustworthy," concludes Gray.

About ECIA The Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) is made up of the leading electronic component manufacturers, their manufacturer representatives and authorized distributors. ECIA members share a common goal of promoting and improving the business environment for the authorized sale of electronic components to the end customer. Comprised of a broad array of leaders and professionals representing all phases of the electronics components supply chain, ECIA is where business optimization, product authentication and industry advocacy come together. ECIA members develop industry guidelines and technical standards, as well as generating critical business intelligence. For more information, visit www.ecianow.org or call 678-393-9990.

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