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GAO Sting Finds More Fake Military Parts From China

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the dangerous-because-of-the-lead-based-paint dept.

China 180

Nidi62 writes "The Government Accountability Office, through a fictitious company, recently requisitioned parts from China in order to determine if the Chinese government was living up to its promises of battling counterfeit parts. The report from the GAO found that '334 of 396 vendors who offered to sell parts to the fictitious company were from China' and that 'all 16 parts eventually purchased by the fake company came from 13 China-based vendors and all were determined by an independent testing laboratory to be counterfeit.' The parts requested were supposedly for use in F-15s, MV-22 Ospreys, and nuclear submarines, and were requested as new parts. The report (PDF) also says that in the past three years, over one million counterfeit parts came from Chinese companies. This stands in sharp contrast to the Chinese government's promise to clamp down on the production of counterfeit parts in China."

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Hell yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505033)

No surprise. stop bitchin g

... and nobody is surprised. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505035)

China looks out for China, nobody else.

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (4, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505209)

China looks out for China, nobody else.

Yes, but the recent few weeks seems to be US looking out for US - by trumpeting an ever-growing tirade against China across a number of political fields - manufacture, technology (hacking) and a bunch of others. The last time the US seemed to do this with such fervor, they invaded Iraq a few months later. The time before that, it built up to the war in Afghanistan. I typically don't worry too much about the US bitching about this or that, but when it reaches a critical level, bad things seem to happen in quick succession - and that makes me worried.

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505227)

It's an election year. Politicians are currently looking for issues with legs, um, that "resonate with the voter". A good hate for China might help certain congresscritters with their primaries or a certain someone to look presidential.

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505299)

It's an election year. Politicians are currently looking for issues with legs, um, that "resonate with the voter". A good hate for China might help certain congresscritters with their primaries or a certain someone to look presidential.

Spot on. Playing with foreign threats (real or not) is a great way to gain local support. Everyone does their part to fight the common enemy. With the enemy defeated, a new enemy is fabricated and the cycle repeats. Without this kind of trick controlling a democracy would be way more expensive, but it'd also be far more interesting.

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (0)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505263)

I typically don't worry too much about the US bitching about this or that, but when it reaches a critical level, bad things seem to happen in quick succession - and that makes me worried.

Then you should be able to relax. The US was attacked suddenly by Al Qaeda which was headquartered in Afghanistan, there was no gradual build-up. To the extent that there was a build-up it was the US government making demands of the Afghan government which they rejected due to Al Qaeda having the ruling Taliban in their power. As to Iraq, that situation started in 1990 and lasted until 2003 and included many UN resolutions against Iraq. Iraq was subject to special scrutiny due to their invasion and annexation of Kuwait which was rejected by the world. They were driven out by a coalition army of 500,000, crushing the Iraqi Army, and setting the stage for Iraq's disarmament. Iraq had a history of lying and concealing their weapons of mass destruction and their programs. As it was, if you believe it, they still had WMD after repeated denials until they secretly destroyed them in 1998, but continued to pretend as if they still had them on Saddam's orders in order to fool the Iranians. There isn't really anything like either of those cases going on with China. Let us know when the US demands sanctions against China and the Chinese don't use their permanent seat on the UN Security Council to veto them. If you truly are worried about the US and China at the moment, you may have an anxiety problem as there really isn't anything like the above going on.

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505275)

China looks out for China, nobody else.

Yes, but the recent few weeks seems to be US looking out for US - by trumpeting an ever-growing tirade against China across a number of political fields - manufacture, technology (hacking) and a bunch of others. The last time the US seemed to do this with such fervor, they invaded Iraq a few months later. The time before that, it built up to the war in Afghanistan. I typically don't worry too much about the US bitching about this or that, but when it reaches a critical level, bad things seem to happen in quick succession - and that makes me worried.

China looks out for China, nobody else.

Yes, but the recent few weeks seems to be US looking out for US - by trumpeting an ever-growing tirade against China across a number of political fields - manufacture, technology (hacking) and a bunch of others. The last time the US seemed to do this with such fervor, they invaded Iraq a few months later. The time before that, it built up to the war in Afghanistan. I typically don't worry too much about the US bitching about this or that, but when it reaches a critical level, bad things seem to happen in quick succession - and that makes me worried.

jdfiejiw

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505511)

I'm all for the US being less of an international douchebag, but if they're calling out bad shit China is actually doing, isn't that a good thing?

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505883)

the recent few weeks seems to be US looking out for US

apparently you must have been living under a rock till recent weeks. the US has ALWAYS looked out for the US, very publicly and aggressively

this is merely an extension of it... blame China for supplying dodgy products that the US was to incompetent to inspect and conform properly

dodgy parts can come from anywhere... even reputable suppliers accidentally let the odd bad egg slip through the noose (i have worked in civil aviation as an engineer). that's why there is supposed to be inspection of parts and documentation at every step of the lifecycle.

if US defence contractors are too lazy or inept to make sure their parts are kosher (ie Mil spec) (including the occasional destructive material test) then i pity the poor idiots they pay to fly their aircraft

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506639)

No way we'd go that far with China, our corporate masters are too addicted to the massive profits they get by dumping their toxic waste out the back doors of their plants in China and the people are too addicted to CCC, aka Cheapo Chinese Crap.

I'd say the bigger question is WHAT THE FUCK are they doing with plans for our planes detailed enough they can crank out knockoff parts? Have we REALLY gotten as bad as Huckabee said and our military can't run without CCC either? I mean if we are just gonna have parts cranked out by potential enemies we might as well say fuck it and offer a first come first serve arms deal to anybody with cash. this is just sad man, we can't even keep our shit together enough to keep any hack with a Chinese plant from cranking out F15 parts, that's fucking pathetic, just pathetic.

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505449)

Why are they buying military parts from China in the first place?

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506017)

You got it. Now if we could get our governments to realize the same... please refer to the buried 2012 GAO Report stored in the broken filing cabinet under the stairs in the drawer marked "pencils for Mars exploration".

We fake the world,
We are the Chinese,
We are as one,
Made from plastics false....

Sung to "We are the world"...

@Fluffeh below: the CN have a 100-yr PLAN, the US can't plan tomorrow. They (CN) have a plan to have a hot war with the US by 2020.

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506157)

Nice set of numbers there : 396 vendors, 334 chineese. However, just *16* parts where ordered, *all* from chineese vendors. Thats a sample of less than 5%, and in absolute numbers *way* to few to be able to able to conclude anything from.

Its also funny that although 15% of the vendors where non-chineese not a single part was ordered from them.

I wonder what (if any) the outrage would be if one of the none-chineese vendors would be American, *also* selling a counterfeit product.

Its almost if someone tried to "proove a point" any way he could ...

Lies, damn lies and statistics. Oh wait, isn't it an election year ?

Re:... and nobody is surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506455)

Yes, it is in their culture to crave for profit. It is a religion in there. They celebrate it, they pray and make sacrifices for luck and prosperity. It is OK, becasue it is their life and their way of doing things.

I would suggest that the US military would source their fake parts in Mexico and Canada, becasue they are closer to home and are very dependent on the success of the USA.

There are many broke countries around US, why not just give some production to them and be strategic friends.

Not sourced in the US? (4, Interesting)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505043)

I thought there was security issues from buying parts in countries we don't particularly trust.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505051)

The one thing we really shouldn't outsource is this kind of stuff. Making it in our own country wouldn't make it invulnerable from bad stuff being put in during the manufacturing process but it would greatly, greatly reduce the chances of anything bad happening.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (5, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505397)

The whole point of this is that even when they are trying not to outsource, but when they attempt to buy "made in USA" parts it turns out that lots of stuff being sold to them is actually sourced indirectly from China and made to look like the US parts. Looking at the parts they are examining it's pretty interesting. For example, bit that protect against anti-static discharge; presumably ones where long term stability is critical and breakdowns like the capacitor plague [wikipedia.org] would be a complete pain.

This is pretty difficult because, in the end, nobody can keep all the parts in stock. You have to go to a shop. The shop has to go to a supplier and so on. At any point in that chain there are people who have a good motive to swap out the good component (which can be sold on at US prices or used to make reliable equipment) for a fake component which costs much less.

The free market selects exactly for components which work for some time but fail shortly after the testing period or guarantee period. I'd be interested to see what the effect of European two year guarantees is on the level of fake components in distribution. Probably not enough; you really need at least five years and a government testing lab willing to prove that inadequate components were used to even have a chance of pushing back against this.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (5, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505473)

This is pretty difficult because, in the end, nobody can keep all the parts in stock.

No, that's horseshit.

Look, for all the money we spend on defense we can afford to have secure warehouses of all the stuff we need.

Look at the A-10 Thunderbolt. That airframe is a precise weapon of destruction. It has served faithfully for years and it's tough as all hell. The A-10 is a marvel of engineering in every way.

It's also impossible to build new ones. Why? Because the supply chain doesn't exist anymore. The plans are gone. It'd be like trying to build a brand new shuttle - it just isn't feasible. You'd have to reverse-engineer an existing one.

This is, frankly, idiotic. It's rare to have created a machine so perfect. The A-10 is going to be in service at least through to 2028. That's a testament to its staying power, and it's sad that we're not going to see any new ones created.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (5, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505641)

I work in aerospace. Ironically, in quality.

The problem is likely to be counterfiet material (stock material sold as 2025, or 7075, but is really some gods awful alloy of who knows what, but you would never know the difference because it weighs the same, mills the same, and looks the same...... until you do a hardness test, a conductivity test, and a vapor assa test.)

Other things likely counterfieted:

Bolts. Nuts. Nutplates. Washers. Rivets. Paint. Adhesives.

We literally order NAS and BACD nutplates and rivets by lots of 1 million. We go through those things like diabetic children dig through candy. It would be *really* easy for our suppliers to slip us a mickey, and sell us bogus nutplates. Those things have specifications they have to meet, concerning their material composition, degree of heat treat, size, and overal dimensions, including weight, and finish. Once cooked up though, are you *really* going to check each and every nutplate in a bin of 1 million to look for counterfeits?

That's the problem. Counterfeit rivets and nutplates throw a monkey wrench in a product's expected lifecycle. Shitty rivets crack out. They corrode. They induce the rest of the assembly to corrode. They respond incorrectly to changing pressure... on and on and on.

Similar with bad adhesives and finishes.

What, are you going to expect every plant in america to do wet chemistry testing on all their paints, primers, and sealants? In addition to vapor testing each and every rivet and nutplate?

Can't be done. Airplanes would cost billions of dollars each.

The US govt wants to crack down on it? Here's an idea: customs can do its fucking job, and search cargo containers from china for counterfiet goods.

That way the cheap chinese knockoffs don't get mixed into fungible supply bins, and we don't have this problem.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (5, Insightful)

neyla (2455118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505767)

You don't have to. To the contrary, checking becomes *easier* when you order a larger quantity of an item.

If you've received a million nutplates, pick 100 of them randomly, and check them thoroughly. Reject the entire shipment if any of those 100 are counterfeit.

If more than 1% of the nutplates are fake, you'd be likely to detect it, and if more than 10% of the plates are fakes, you'd be virtually guaranteed to detect it. Thus when all 100 check out as genuine, it's unlikely that there's more than a few percent fakes, tops.

At that point, it's probably not worth it to the supplier to fake the delivery. Yes they can put in 1% fakes and 99% reals, and hope that it's not detected (their odds of this are about even).

But having 50:50 odds of getting away with 1% fraud while 50% of the time your entire shipment is rejected, just isn't profitable.

In contrast, it's hard to do reasonable checking when you order a *low* count of some part, say 3.

Statistical sampling *works*. You really -can- test the quality of a million-gallon-delivery of whatever by picking a few random samples, and test those.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506601)

Statistical sampling *works*. You really -can- test the quality of a million-gallon-delivery of whatever by picking a few random samples, and test those.

Only if you can get a representative sample. Getting that from a liquid is easy, getting that from a crate of nutplates isn't. It can be done, but you need to carefully think about how it is done.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506327)

I work in aerospace. Ironically, in quality.

curious about your reference to "stock material sold as 2025".

i've also worked as an aeronautical engineer, and by far the most common alloy is 2024

Re:Not sourced in the US? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505999)

The problem is not China interfering with the parts, it is that they are knock-offs or recycled when they are supposed to be new.

The military should be able to go directly to the manufacturer, in which case having the parts made in China isn't such a big deal. The problem here is that they use suppliers who are basically just middle-men. By going to the manufacturers directly they could be sure they were getting genuine parts.

Problem is that a lot of the parts are probably obsolete now. Military hardware can be in service for decades and companies stop producing the parts required. Substitution for newer parts requires re-certification. The only other options are to buy a large stockpile of parts when they are still being made and hope it lasts or to do what they are now doing and source the parts from dodgy suppliers who are recycling them.

The company I work for has had the same problem with parts for a product that is about 15 years old (a DSP chip). It is a major problem.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (4, Interesting)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505061)

In a new development to this story, a new series of tests run after acquiring new testing equipment (from China) and new software (from China) determined that the parts previously identified as counterfeit were in fact genuine.

Scared yet? You should be.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505309)

Scared yet? You should be.

Why? The Chinese apparatchiks perform to high standards [youtube.com] .

And don't forget, where the Chinese fall short, they can usually find someone [cnn.com] to help close the gap. [sfgate.com]

Re:Not sourced in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505369)

Hey, I'm interested. Source of that?

Re:Not sourced in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505543)

Ok Barbie, How can you make a statement as fact without providing a source of the information when it contradicts TFA?

Re:Not sourced in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505981)

you must be new here

I hereby state (without any credibility) that TFA was written by an agent of the CIA's NCS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Clandestine_Service) to influence the opinion of nerds around the world that China makes inferior micro-gadgetery and that nerds should only buy Intel chippy thingys fitted with CIA backdoor... access... stuff! If you don't believe me, check out http://www.the_cia_is_bad/mkay/shitty_wall/im_so_ronery/i_like_your_balls/eat_penguin_shit_you_ass_spelunker.html?spam=true&malware=microsoft_internet_exploiter

Re:Not sourced in the US? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505105)

We do and we don't. Military (especially classified) equipment is 100% manufactured in the U.S. but since we don't have the industrial base (not to mention the fact that its economically nonviable) to produce the sheer number required in a practical time frame (no sense in stopping the tire assembly line every week just so the engine assembly line can catch up), we have overseas manufacturers produce parts to make up for shortfalls.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505173)

On the other hand, other countries that stole US military designs won't be able to source the proper parts from China on the open market either!
May be that save your bacon one of these days.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505325)

I thought there was security issues from buying parts in countries we don't particularly trust.

Only when they aren't significantly cheaper.

Re:Not sourced in the US? (2)

intok (2605693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506203)

Thee way things are currently, they hire a US based firm, that firm outsources it to China to make the pieces, when the pieces arrive at the US firm they grind off the Made In China badges and stamp on a Built In the USA label. Least thats how it is at the Case tractor plant here.Thee way things are currently, they hire a US based firm, that firm outsources it to China to make the pieces, when the pieces arrive at the US firm they grind off the Made In China badges and stamp on a Built In the USA label. Least thats how it is at the Case tractor plant here.

The government can blame itself. (3, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505053)

The federal government of the United States should not blame China for this, it's called being Shanghaied for a reason, and it's not a new term.

The reason the market is ripe for these sorts of problems is the governments own fault. There used to be lots of chipmakers in the United States. It costs to much to do business in the United States. Businesses have gotten in bed with the government and bought their own representatives and more important industry regulators to control the market to benefit the biggest players. When the biggest players can no longer afford to do business here they pick up and leave the country but the regulations they paid for remain.

Mix that with an unfavorable tax economy, actual government incentives to send business overseas (still haven't figured that one out), and punishment via tax brackets for people who attempt to move up in class and of course the market is ripe for China to supply fake chips. We ran all the good businesses out of the country, just how many lobbyist DOES China have?

Re:The government can blame itself. (5, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505085)

You started out right, then you ended very wrong. Tax policy in this country didn't start being a problem until we decided to go Free Market; translation, forcing US companies to compete with Chinese companies that don't give a shit about human rights, worker rights, or environmental rights. It's impossible for US companies to be competitive with a company that can dump its waste behind the factory, work its employees like slaves, and treat its citizens like government property.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505141)

I don't know, USA Today [usatoday.com] seems to agree with me, as does Hilary Clinton and Obama. Here's another. [economicpopulist.org]

I'm not digging for it right now, but it seems articles have run here on Slashdot about help desk jobs moving to India partially because the government made it the most logical step.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

Formalin (1945560) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505157)

You forgot the part about how they can counterfeit with relative impunity, as well.

Re:The government can blame itself. (2)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505191)

There's another thing I question.

If the "real" chips were outsourced to China to begin with, then China kept producing the chips in the same factory by the same people, even after the original orders were fulfilled, are they really "counterfeit" or just "chips without the royalties"?

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505333)

Counterfeiters generally skip QA inspection on the chips, so you might end up with a chip rated for milspec (temperature, g force and other) but won't live up to the requirements. Or maybe the chip is a CPU and they mark it for 3 GHz but in fact it will only survive a few months at that speed.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

capedgirardeau (531367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505477)

I thought the same thing, but reading the article they present the example of contracting to purchase new chips of a certain type and what they were delivered were old recycled chips from the 80's and 90's that were salvaged from discarded equipment, ground down and remarked as the new chip the contract required.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506023)

Depends if you trust the Chinese company to certify the chips. Are they maintaining the standards that the original manufacturer set down? Do they do all the same testing? Often a chip or entire PCB might be made in China but only fully tested when it arrives for assembly in the US.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505779)

To be fair the US also seems to treat its citizens like government property, and people in the US appear to be worked like slaves.

I don't know anyone in the US who does less than a 40-hour week, and many of them do over 50 hours.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506187)

I know plenty who do less than 40, but I wouldn't exactly consider them the most productive members of society >40 is usually closer to 0 than 40 with most of these people.

You are right about government meddling having a lot to do with that. The administrative cost of an employee to a business owner beyond what an employee immediately sees in many businesses is due to regulations and requirements that prevents companies from hiring more people. In turn they simply demand more of the people they do have. This is part of the reason staffing firms are so popular, they put the burden of the employment paperwork and benefits on someone else and remove much of the legal liability that can be associated with firing someone. They simply tell the staffing firm they don't need this person anymore and the staffing firm is free to lay someone off with the justification their position is gone, even if they're replacing that person with someone else.

Our national debt is established with a "people are the government property" mindset. The US people are the collateral against the loans our debt is financed by. Quite literally our butts belong to China (and other countries) if we default. So glad my butts being sold to other countries to pay for tattoo removal in California [businessinsider.com] .

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505845)

"...and whose citizens are government property."

FTFY

Not impossible, just difficult (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506403)

I'm European. We have different views over here, while still being free-market capitalists.

Our EU parliament and commissioners have been working for a while to even up the regulatory shortfall by assessing the likely economic benefits per product of not complying with environmental legislation and adding that cost as an import tax, the idea being to require suppliers making products for EU markets to produce them to EU environmental standards, or pay a tax that would be designed to cancel out the economic benefits of using polluting options.

Ways it would work include factoring in the electrical cost and taxing a carbon charge on the difference between net pollution per KwH here and per KwH there. We're planning to levy the same idea on aviation to the EU, at which point it wil suddenly become news in the USA as I dont imagine your long-haul airlines will be very pleased. You could do it too, based mainly at China.

When you;re as big as either the EU collectively or the USA singly, little things like pre-existing agreements can be overridden or overwritten, its just a matter of willpower and courage.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505229)

It doesn't cost too much to do business here. It's just cheaper over there. You want all those jobs back from China? Turn the clock back about a hundred years, say goodbye to our quality of life, and enjoy your low-wage assembly line jobs. But then you'd have a whole new group of people complaining about the jobs that they lost.
(I don't know what those jobs are, exactly, but considering our insanely high GDP in this country they must be doing something.)

The reason why those things aren't made here anymore is because of comparative advantage. We can still manufacture those things as good or better as China, but we do other things even better. And because we focus on those other things, and because we can't do everything at once, those manufacturing jobs moved overseas.

We should buy cheap parts from China, and the Air Force should buy their tankers from Airbus. Why? Because those countries foolishly subsidize those products; China with the blood and sweat of their population; Europe with hard currency. So its basically a hand-out for us. We'd be fools not to buy those things, and in the tanker case we actually are being supremely foolish. All this hand waving about patriotism and security will just end up lining the pockets of defense contractors, without any proven improvements in security.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505285)

You've got some great points there, especially with the Europe/Airbus reference.

I do disagree however with we can't do everything at once. We can. We have a lot of land mass, a lot of people, and no shortage of talented people or of people without a lot of talent but can and will work on an assembly line.

We can make doing business here more attractive without becoming isolationist and we can do it in a way that actually increases our own employment, lowers individual and corporate taxes while balancing the budget. It's going to take rethinking government roles and contract structure and some outright wars on corruption.

Short answer: no. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505319)

There used to be lots of chipmakers in the United States. It costs to much to do business in the United States.

Bullshit. As is demonstrated by TFA.

You want it done right then you pay for it to be done right.
Finding someone who will do it cheaper and do it wrong is easy.

Re:The government can blame itself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505531)

When you initiate globalist trade policies with no corresponding global government to stop the race to the bottom that inevitably results, surprise! You get a race to the bottom.

It may interest you to know that this exact behavior (then corporations playing US states off of one another) was what prompted Teddy Roosevelt to successfully argue the need for national legislation about child labor, slave-like conditions and employee safety: Unless it applied everywhere at once, any place that tried to improve conditions would be blackmailed by the threat of moving the factory over a county or state.

Eventually the presently-industrializing world will, after all locations equilibriate at roughly similar conditions, pass through the same phase transition the US did 110 years ago. It remains to be seen to what extent the already-industrialized world's existing labor policies will be dragged backwards by the race (i.e. to what extent protectionist policies will prevent it). Hopefully by the time the third industrialization revolution occurs in Africa this will have been figured out and... who I am kidding, none of the idiots in power can see past the tips of their noses.

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505829)

The federal government of the United States should not blame China for this, it's called being Shanghaied for a reason, and it's not a new term.

Who said anything about forcing sailors to work on ships?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghaiing [wikipedia.org]

"Shanghaiing refers to the practice of conscripting men as sailors by coercive techniques such as trickery, intimidation, or violence. Those engaged in this form of kidnapping were known as crimps. Until 1915, unfree labor was widely used aboard American merchant ships. The related term press gang refers specifically to impressment practices in Great Britain's Royal Navy."

Re:The government can blame itself. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506245)

2. to put by trickery into an undesirable position [merriam-webster.com]

You're using one of the most commonly used fallacies in existence to attempt to discredit a statement. Quit it. It gets old, usually it's an attack on grammar or spelling, but ignoring an accepted definition in order to twist another is in second place.

Re:The government can blame itself. (2)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505889)

There used to be lots of chipmakers in the United States.

Used [wikipedia.org] to? [wikipedia.org] (That's AMD's spin off).

It appears the US is still a major player in the CPU market. China's current huge advantage isn't the ability to make top-end chips. Its advantage is in rock bottom assembly prices, combined with the flexibility to make almost overnight changes to manufacturing processes. That flexibility is partly due to their reliance on cheap human labor that might even be on call 24 hours a day. If you try to change a process in a mechanized/automated plant, it takes time and very possibly some retooling. To change a process in a factory relying on cheap labor, it takes a few hours of classroom time and a trainer.

That said, the US has some major manufacturing problems. The US is no longer capable of making what they used to make. It seems that some expertise is gained/maintained by being close to or involved in the end process, and if you rely on other people to do it all, you lose the ability. I'm not wading into the rest very deeply, but I will admit that there are a lot of reasons that it costs more to manufacture things in the US that don't involve labor costs or the environment.

Surprised? (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505075)

How can they be surprised that China's pirating designs? For that matter, substandard military parts aren't limited to China. I've heard of several cases of manufacturers here in the USA who didn't care to supply the best.

Lenin was wrong. (4, Insightful)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505115)

Turns out, the capitalists won't be selling the rope with which they'll be hanged. They'll be paying for it themselves.

Re:Lenin was wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505213)

I'm not sure I see the capitalists in this issue. I see a bunch of government agencies spending other peoples money on counterfeit parts made by companies that exist because of prior government funding. That gives us statists, victims and fascists(of the economic kind, AKA corporatists). Am I missing something in this equation?

Re:Lenin was wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505237)

Actually, it looks like the capitalists masquerading as communists are selling the rope to the communists masquerading as capitalists. And at the end, both will be found with one end of the rope around their necks in a bizarre murder-suicide. This isn't Lenin, this is M. Night Shyamalan.

Re:Lenin was wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505269)

How's that? This is capitalism at work. Capitalism does not exclude reputation. Capitalism does not exclude legal systems and policing.

Are you saying it because China is involved? That's a capitalist economy. They're long past the point you could say it's a Communist economy adopting aspects of capitalism. It's a capitalist economy with residual & receding aspects of a Communism economy.

This shouldn't be confused with form of government, which is still Chinese-Communist, and is not really moving much towards democracy at all.

so capitalism has nothing to do with democracy (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505287)

im glad we have that ironed out, so that conservatives can stop conflating them.

Re:Lenin was wrong. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505447)

I think he's saying that because the American private companies that were asked by US DoD to provide military components that were supposed to be manufactured in US, ended up outsourcing that to China.

And yes, China is not communist anymore, but so what? The guy that originally said the thing about rope was a communist (and they did in fact sell him the rope); but a capitalist will gladly sell the rope to the highest bidder, which in this case is another capitalist.

whoa it takes two to tango (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505175)

China: "offer" to sell.
Some Guy in Boeing/Lockheed/USAF: I'll take it.

The Chinese are not forcing anybody to buy their parts.

Next step (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506025)

China: "offer" to sell.
Some Guy in Boeing/Lockheed/USAF: I'll take it.

American overconfident arrogance + WWIII + China/Russia pushes magic button and all our fancy gadgets go dark at the right moment = US fucked beyond belief.

China and Russia new world superpowers.

Bright (?) future ahead.

(...Profit?)

Re:whoa it takes two to tango (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506029)

This is pretty close. Also got to consider the environment in which the government has made it pretty lucrative for subcontractors to get in on the action. (Qualifications schmalifications... Women owned this, minority owned that, get both to look good on the incentive programs. Also these companies have "owner" execs. as a figurehead to look good on paper and meet criteria while shots are called elsewhere. Plenty of pork tossed around here and there.) Too many middlemen. So it's like Boeing going through some company out of Langley, which then sources through another company in Galesburg, who actually gets his stuff from a shipping supply company out of a suburb of San Diego, and from there maybe Shanghai? As long as the money's good and part A gets to location B on time, nobody checks, keeping records of supply sources past a certain point and doing proper quality control be damned. Not to mention that in some cases a few palms are greased along the way so that some vendors are more preferred than others, despite past issues they may have had.

And it's not parts. A lot of contracting to do services too. Many things get sent out of the military chain to get remanufactured. Crap parts that wouldn't pass out on the field or make it into the normal supply chain finds its way in then.

But now somebody is actually bothering to do the checks. (And it's likely overdue.) Fixing it will be a much bigger challenge.

The China parts problem is only a symptom of what's actually wrong. Can't blame them for using an easy 'sploit in the system when too much is obviously broken and not actually secure.

Not to mention that logistics is one of the keystones of a modern military's operational effectiveness, strategically it would be dumb for China to not take advantage of a weakness there. The biggest, baddest, latest and greatest weapons don't mean much if they're seeing more than 50% downtime due to servicability issues.

Sounds like... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505177)

...they need to buy parts from all of the vendors and use our international investigative abilities to find out who the actual people selling the parts are, then test the parts. When parts come back bad, we need to ensure that we don't do business with those people again, and that we publish who we bought from and what the results are. That might stop a lot of companies from buying from those vendors. It certainly wouldn't stop all, but it could help.

Are the fake parts actually faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505179)

I don't know what it's like for military grade parts, but for a lot of consumer items (clothing especially - tennis shoes, pants, suits, etc.) you can actually get knock-offs in China that are basically identical. They won't be any different than the "real" items (and in some cases are made in the same factories). You can get an "Armani" silk suit from a tailor in the silk market in Beijing for like a quarter to a half the price. High quality stuff.

SOME of the knockoffs, electronics especially, are hilariously sketchy. Phones that don't work, external hard drives that actually have USB flash sticks instead of spinning platters inside them, external enclosures that don't fit any form factor, usb connectors that are so shallow no USB plug can actually fit, etc.

Re:Are the fake parts actually faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505629)

SOME of the knockoffs, electronics especially, are hilariously sketchy.

It's cool - the story is about knockoff jeans. Didn't you RTFA?

I just don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505195)

Why are ANY government parts being bought from China? It's insanity because if we do go to war with China what are we supposed to do beg them for replacement parts so we can bomb them? The military should NEVER depend on foreign suppliers, PERIOD! Pay offs and tax dollars going to China instead of Detroit as they used to.

in my brief govt job (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505303)

i wore a uniform made in mexico, sat on furniture produced by inmates at federal prisons, and drove around in a truck fueled by oil from god knows where.

none of the people who built this stuff had 'freedom' by any modern definition of the word.

Conflict of interest much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505231)

If the ficticious company gets 16 insanely low priced offers that are too good to be true and only accepts those 16 offers, they know have lots to write into their report and can congratulate themselves on a job well done (maybe even get a bonus at the end of the year?). The other issue would be what incentive would a foreign government have to crack down on manufacturers producing fake military components for a country that builds alliances against it? I mean, if an American nuclear submarine happens to sink due to faulty parts, that seems to be a good thing from their perspective. One less submarine that just happens to be sitting in their EEZ taking a well-deserved vacation and not being a threat at all despite being armed to the teeth... I mean, just because we've placed an armed nuclear submarine (or maybe several, depends on how good your detection equipment is) in your zone doesn't mean we're being unfriendly at all, honest! We're just picking up those parts we ordered from you. Now, you're sure these parts are fine? We'd be in a bit of pickle if something happened under all that water.

Couldn't this just be assumed? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505249)

Why did they need to waste money on a sting operation? Correction: why did they need to wast MORE money...? And granted the U.S. trades with China, but why the fuck would they source military parts from a country that is openly antagonistic if not outright aggressive to one of their allies, namely Taiwan? Or who backs North Korea all the way. Or who supports Iran getting nuclear capability. Don't they remember that Chinese fighter planes aggressively caused a mid air collision and forced an American navy surveillance plane to land in China a few years ago while it was flying over international waters above the the South China Sea?

What kind of bug fuck retarded moron in the military logistics department had them order parts for sophisticated military equipment from China anyway? America has an almost $300,000,000,000 per year trade deficit [census.gov] (that's THREE HUNDRED BILLION dollars) with China and they are spending Tax Payers Money buying military parts from there? If the government is going to spend hard earned tax dollars, they might as well buy from American companies who operate factories in America. Or does "Buy American" mean buying from companies who outsource jobs to China? Someone in the purchasing department at the pentagon needs a fucking kick in the balls and a slap up side the head. Gah! The country deserves what they get when they do this.

It's the second one. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505403)

If the government is going to spend hard earned tax dollars, they might as well buy from American companies who operate factories in America. Or does "Buy American" mean buying from companies who outsource jobs to China?

It's the second one.

The companies want bigger profits.
So the companies outsource whatever they can, wherever they can.
And our government decides that that supply chain is "good enough".

All the government has to do is require that the parts be made 100% in the USofA and there would be a huge change.

Re:Couldn't this just be assumed? (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505465)

They did not order anything from China. They ordered it from American companies which were supposed to have them manufactured locally, but instead they've got Chinese-made parts.

Re:Couldn't this just be assumed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505997)

So, why are they blaming the Chinese government?

Re:Couldn't this just be assumed? (2)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505471)

If the government is going to spend hard earned tax dollars, they might as well buy from American companies who operate factories in America.

Most of gate-level logic and other silicon is made in Asia on their fabs, even if nominally the design is owned by TI or Fairchild or IDT.

Another problem is that the government is legally required to announce when it wants to buy something, and then it has to pick the vendor who offers a compliant part for the lowest price. In this "compliant" means "they say it's compliant." Reliability of many silicon devices is not measured directly (try to measure MTBF of a 2NAND gate) - it is either calculated, or estimated, or measured in accelerated aging conditions.

A good deal of products (electronic or not) are not even made by US companies, in the US or outside. Many electronic components that I use every day are made by Japanese owned companies, for example. Some big names always were Japanese - Seiko, MuRata, Citizen, TDK, Panasonic, Rohm.

counterfit? (3, Insightful)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505259)

These aren't expensive handbags. What does counterfeit mean? Do the parts meet the specifications?
 

Re:counterfit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505365)

Indeed. They asked 13 Chinese companies to produce certain parts to spec and *VOILA* they did so.

Re:counterfit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505781)

produce certain parts to spec

But you can't be certain that for all parts without testing every single part they build.

They're counterfeits branded with the logo of an official company,. There's no records or proof of them having gone through the gauntlet of tests and certifications which the official companies have. Which is why they can sell shit for cheaper.

When you get the real goods, you're not just paying for what you get. You're also paying for a guarantee based on the goodwill [wikipedia.org] the company has accumulated from years of reliability and their passing of tests to prove a certain level of quality.

The companies could have sold their products under their own banner after pouring in a ton of money for certification and testing. Instead, they slapped on another company's logo, jacked up their prices, and paid diddly squat for testing and certification.

Re:counterfit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506085)

you're also paying for a guarantee based on the goodwill

no, actually mil spec is a guarantee supported by a certificate with accountability attached to it

if an american supplier (or one from any other country not able to defend itself against the US) provides fake parts to the USAF but certifies them mil-spec, and a pilot or two is killed and the cause is found to be faulty fake parts, the american supplier who provided them is fucked.

china (like Russia) can stamp whatever they like as being mil spec, because even if they are proven to be fake, china can't be held accountable because the US has no jurisdiction over Chinese companies (even ITARS is just a bad joke to companies in China)

Re:counterfit? (3, Informative)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505523)

Counterfeit, in this context, usually means made with inferior materials that wear out faster.

Re:counterfit? (1)

OKK77 (683209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505615)

They are "counterfeits" because they display manufacturer LOGO, part numbers and date codes. I don't see the report mentioning if they are "fake"/non-working parts.

So, this is like you requesting for a iPod first gen that is produced in 2012. The vendor will sell you a music player that shows the Apple logo, has the proper part number (product identifier) and a manufacturing date of "2012" - even though no first gen iPod are manufactured in 2012 anymore.

GAO in this case, didn't say if they tested whether the iPod works as a music player or syncs with iTunes. They did a test on the material and declared "no, this isn't produced by Apple in 2012".

Re:counterfit? (5, Informative)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505867)

They're parts being sold with fake product numbers and manufacturing dates to make it look like they came from an original parts manufacturer. Some of them probably don't meet specifications, and the danger is that you can't tell without testing them because they're misrepresenting themselves as being from a reputable source. That's definitely no good when these parts are being installed in aircraft and weapons.

As another example of potentially dangerous counterfeits, there's counterfeit climbing gear [grough.co.uk] floating around out there that apparently fails at forces far lower than it's claimed to be rated for.

Re:counterfit? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506073)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partnair_Flight_394 [wikipedia.org]
Specifications are that they look and 'feel' the same. How they work is not really an issue for the seller.
Use counterfeit parts and you risk mid air fall apart.
Security cleared, fit, healthy, g force rated crews vs what an aerospace company can lobby a US politician over allowing legal imports...

Re:counterfit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506493)

It must be referred to as counterfeit because it implies that the buyer is completely free of any responsibility of purchasing sub-standard gear.

Otherwise, they would have to call the spade a spade (i.e., the US decided to purchase huge quantities of sub-standard gear which fails to meet a list of specifications) and then someone would have to ask why on earth would someone purchase building materials in droves without ever doing a single quality assurance test.

And this is a tough question to ask, because it underlines US incompetence and how it puts in danger even the country's national defense.

So, the official word is counterfeit. These are counterfeit goods, because there is no guilt involved, besides those nasty chinese people.

hooray for the free market! (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505271)

as a conservative republican, i am glad to see that the US government is embracing the free enterprise system of capitalism.

the chinese communist party is clearly our ally in this movement towards freedom.

the labor unions? not so much. buncha commies.

Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505305)

Don't buy shit from China...ever. Case closed.

Can the US trust Chinese military parts? (1)

TwineLogic (1679802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505311)

I would think that installing Chinese-sourced electronics in F-15s might lead to a compromise of the F-15s availability in war time.
I thought the US had experience in supplying sabotage parts to the former USSR, I am surprised we would buy parts from a nation that is less than our best friend.

Whats the different between (2)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505317)

an Iranian Tomcat and a modern US military system?
Iran knows where its jets came from.

Re:Whats the different between (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505451)

Whats the different between an Iranian Tomcat and a modern US military system?

40 years?

Why? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505367)

Why would the US military buy parts made in China?
And if they do, why wouldn't they do it with strict specs and quality controls?
Everybody knows that you get crap from China if you don't look very closely. We have quality people traveling to China all the time.
Those backplanes that started to overheat and smolder from ions left in the material due to rinsing with tap water and the resultant 100% recall were fun.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505541)

Why would the US military buy parts made in China?

China was the lowest bidder?

History repeating itself. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505413)

As China did so amongst themselves a while ago(heavy bags of rice where cannons should be), they do to others today.

Simple spelling error == sloppy article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505423)

The first sentence of this article contains the word "dramaitc". It may have some good content, but it fails in basic quality. It lost me at hello.

"Fake" is not really fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505539)

It turns out there are a few categories of "fake":
A - just the shape and markings imitated
B - factory rejects
C - refurbished parts
D - "ghost shift" parts
E - remarked near-compatible parts.

Now, what happens if someone orders parts that have been out of production for 20 years: the market supplies an alternative! And with merchandise changing hands often the differences get lost. It is not al malvolence.

It sounds to me a bit like "We ordered 30 painting by Van Gogh. When they were delivered the next month they all turned out to be fake! Blame China!".

So... if you want to keen some equipment operational for 20 years, also keep the parts for 20 years.

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US centric thinking is the problem, not China (1)

BurstElement (1332791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505595)

If the US DoD are purchasing electronic components on the secondary market from marketplaces like ICSource, IC2IC and posting RFQ's with NATO part numbers expecting the Chinese vendors to decipher them and then interpret the MIL standards they specify with complete accuracy then they need their heads checked.
Vendors peddling re-manufactured / recycled stock or stock with modified date codes will be the least of their worries.

If they expect that level of accuracy and QC with no effort on their part then they should stick to buying components directly from the original manufacturer.
And if the manufacturer EOL's a critical component for your $10B aircraft then make damned sure you stock up before the last buy production run is gone!

Re:US centric thinking is the problem, not China (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505895)

were they counterfeit produced "pirate" products or just plain _wrong_ parts? big difference there.

tit for tat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505771)

reflects more on the apparent incompetence of US DoD contractors conformity/QA/inspection procedures and personnel, if they even have any

Who Gains? (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39505877)

I suspect that this comes down to American weapons manufacturers losing business and getting their cronies in the government to make some noise about it.

That being said, I do think that the military shouldn't be buying anything (a) off the Internet from unknown entities and (b) from anyone but the original equipment manufacturer. Seems surprising in fact, that they could do so. Perhaps there are middle man providers who are supposed to be selling OEM parts but who themselves are buying on the Internet.

Only 16 items? (1)

AxeTheMax (1163705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506031)

They set up a sting that bought just 16 items. Did they also ensure that the purchases were made from sources that they expected to get fakes from or did they carry out a genuine 'best value' procurement? If they did the former, this sounds trivial. Any good purchasing decision should ensure a check on the reputation and record of the vendor.

Military Parts?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506145)

Well, it must be me... and I am not a North American Citizen, but buy MILITARY parts in other countries seems quite unsafe, not to mention dumb... if a country wants to keep rule and not having that parts malfunctioning, why do they buy from other countries, especially China, that has too one of the largest, if not the largest military in the world. A few years back, it was discovered that chips that China sold to the US Military contained some undocumented features, assembly wise, this puts in perspective that China can interfere in worlds machines if it came to that point. Long story short, In my way of thinking, all the military equipment should be done inhouse.

Communist Party owned those companies actually (1)

ben4528 (2588219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39506477)

Those companies making parts are owned by communist party, they can do whatever they want in China. Countfieit ? What counterfeit ? The Chinese government actually encourages companies to use reverse engineering to produce parts for they weaponry.

ACTA marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506657)

These are US military parts, they were ordered from China, which isn't license to make them. So they knew when they bought them they were bound to be fake, and any such part from China would have to be fake.

So they ordered knowing they would be fake.

It also means any such part coming from China would be checked and seized at the border. They do get some fakes through, but the article gives an exaggerated impression of the quantity by ordering parts that were bound to be fake and would be known to be seized at the border.

It's marketing for 'ACTA' the anti-counterfeit treaty that became a giant copyright treaty.

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