In December 2011, President Barack Obama signed the fiscal year 2012 US National Defense Authorization Act. The budget bill also encourages the implementation of procedures to mitigate the possibility of obtaining counterfeit components by making members of all tiers of the defense supply chain accountable. The meaning of the term counterfeit in this context includes fake, substandard, damaged, or mismarked components.
In the fall of 2011, for the first time in history, U.S. Federal Courts prosecuted an individual for trafficking in counterfeit integrated circuits, many of which were targeted for the U.S. military. Others were to be used in brake systems in high-speed trains and instruments used by firefighters to detect nuclear radiation. The administrator of the company that sold the components was sentenced to 38 months in prison and assessed fines of $166,141 for selling almost $16 million worth of semiconductors falsely marked as military, commercial or industrial grade.
As progressive as all of this news seems to be in the fight against counterfeit semiconductors making their way into the US supply chain, it is just the beginning. In fact, it is estimated that 2 percent of all the semiconductors sold last year were counterfeit. That doesn’t sound too threatening until we do the math: the estimated value of counterfeit parts that made their way into the U.S. supply chain in 2011 is over $5 billion.
Not only do counterfeit components threaten lives, they impose a vast negative financial impact to semiconductor manufacturers, distributors, electronics equipment manufacturers and end users. It is estimated that the actual cost of a failed semiconductor that makes its way into production – in any industry – can be more than 100 times the cost of the original component. That makes the bargain price – often 70 percent less than the “real thing” – look less and less attractive. No matter how hard the industry tries, it can’t get around that old adage: you get what you pay for.
I am not sure whether I found the article or the comments more interesting. I can say that while at LSI (along with Dan), I was contacted several times by a company, an agency, or DSCC (DLA) needing more parts. When a quote was given, the usual answer was that they would buy salvaged parts because that was cheaper than another wafer run. And yes we were charging a premium ($10K to $100K as most of processes had to be restarted, recreated and re-qualified. Having the assurance of knowing where the part originated can be better than a part with an unknown pedigree? I believe that many of these issues are a result of NOT controlling the supply chain as the article highlights.
Methinks Thou Dost Protest Too Much. It was I who said that the GEM program was an alternative for "non-available"microcircuits, that's "the fact" as you say.
With regard to the Applied DNA Sciences solution, I am not relying on "hype". I know the facts and suggest to you and your competitors call them, or the DLA, and then tell me it's not worth the money to protect our warfighters.
You have magically equated DNA tagging with protecting our warfighters. There is no connection here at all. Tagging known good product penalizes the good guys who can ship pure authorized product. Why didn't DLA insist upon tagging non-Authorized product? Doesn't that make more sense? Tag the product that comes from non-Authorized sources. Tag the material that has the highest odds of being counterfeit. Half the counterfeits reported this year are on active product. HALF! There is a huge procurement problem FIRST. If "protect our warfighters" is getting tossed around, go talk to the CM's and DLA themselves about procurement practices trying to squeeze the last dime out of every system. We should all be focused on the biggest problem first - using the Authorized sources FIRST if available. This alone cuts out half the reported counterfeit product in 2012.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.