WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) today called on U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to crack down on counterfeit parts from foreign countries entering America’s defense supply chain.
On Wednesday, The Day reported that the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton received counterfeit semiconductors from Hong Kong or China on at least three separate occasions. The Day also reported that it was unclear whether any of those counterfeit parts ended up on a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine.
“Electric Boat builds the best, most advanced submarines in the world, and those submarines perform some of our military’s most sensitive missions. We cannot allow their critical work to be compromised by counterfeit parts in our defense supply chain, which threaten both the safety of our nation and our servicemembers,” said Murphy.“That’s why I have focused on strengthening the laws that require domestic sourcing on critical defense parts. I’m writing to Secretary Hagel to urge him to use all the tools at his disposal to invest in the domestic production of critical items in our defense supply chain, and to continue to closely monitor and punish those who would attempt to sell counterfeit goods to the Department of Defense.”
Full text of Senator Murphy’s letter:
The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Secretary, Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
Dear Secretary Hagel,
I write with great concern over the case of Peter Picone, who was recently charged with importing counterfeit semiconductors from China for sale in the United States. His case is only the latest example of the widespread problem that I brought to the attention of your predecessor, Secretary Panetta, last year following the release of a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) report that found more than 1,800 instances of counterfeit electronic parts in the defense supply chain.
It is little surprise that the SASC’s investigation found that most of these counterfeit parts came from China. Mr. Picone’s case reinforces the fact that China is our biggest threat when it comes to counterfeit parts in our supply chain, and that the Chinese government appears unconcerned with cracking down on this type of business practice.
In my previous letter to then-Secretary Panetta I noted that counterfeit items in our defense supply chain representa serious threat to the safety of our nation and to our servicemembers. Brigadier General John Adams, U.S. Army (Ret), made a similar point in his report entitled Remaking American Security. With particular relevance to the Picone case, he noted that “semiconductors…have been central to U.S. military and economic strength over the past half-century. Without semiconductors, many of the technologies that contribute to U.S. military dominance would not exist.” With that in mind I am extremely concerned about the Department of Defense’s reliance and acceptance of foreign made semiconductors and other componentry in our military hardware.
Mr. Picone’s case centered on nuclear submarines, one of our most critical national security programs. This case underscores why we need to be doing everything we can to foster domestic production of these indispensable items. That is why I have focused on strengthening the laws that require domestic sourcing on critical defense articles. In the meantime I am asking that you use all the tools at your disposal to invest in the domestic production of critical items in the defense supply chain and continue to closely monitor and punish those who would attempt to sell counterfeit goods to the Department of Defense.
I hope that we can continue to work together to ensure the safety of personnel, the protection of our national security and the reliability of our hardware. Please let me know what steps your department is currently taking to eliminate counterfeit parts from the supply chain, and how I can be of assistance.
Christopher S. Murphy
United States Senator