In 2012, the US Congress and Pentagon were at long last publicly discussing the presence of counterfeit parts in the military supply chain. Indeed, one Senate Armed Services Committee investigation report noted the discovery of “counterfeit electronic parts from China in the Air Force’s largest cargo plane, in assemblies intended for Special Operations helicopters, and in a Navy surveillance plane among 1,800 cases of bogus parts.” Further, a year-long committee investigation found a total number of suspect counterfeit parts involved in those 1,800 cases exceeding 1 million.
Fast forward six years, with the defence-industry team continuing to step up its efforts to detect, report and mitigate these parts from entering the supply chain. Yonkers, New York-based CTG (Crestwood Technology Group) is one company on the front lines of the US Department of Defense (DoD) counterfeit avoidance strategy.
Jim Waring, Vice President for Strategic Business Development at the company, placed this threat to logistics chains into perspective when he noted in the DoD and across the broader defence industry, “there has been a proliferation of counterfeit parts, components and other materiel that have been flooding the market.” The industry expert, speaking from the additional perspective of having commanded US Army units, added the imperative to address this logistics aberration since, “this creates an internal threat and challenges the reliability of parts and systems.”
CTG has made counterfeit avoidance a core competency, and has strengthened this effort by building a state-of-the-art laboratory which permits testing to military, regulatory, customer and other standards, and gaining accreditation and certifications supporting these protocols. “This is not only for certifications but also for the emerging cyber threats which are present as well,” he emphasised.
The US-based company has recently gained a Counterfeit Avoidance Accreditation Program (CAAP) certifications accredited by the industry’s leading OEMs validating the organizations strengthened processes to combat counterfeit parts from entering the supply chain. “When CTG provides a part for a component to a defence customer, we want to guarantee authenticity and they are receiving what they are asking for,” Mr Waring added. “We are an approved vendor with most OEMs you can think of, we are vetted and we were the first distributor in the industry to obtain the CAAP accreditation – which came from the OEMs. CTG is recognized by the OEMs as a ‘go to’ company for exacting standards and our counterfeit avoidance programme.”
Further, CTG is one of approximately 15 US companies to gain the additional counterfeit avoidance certification from the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), permitting CTG to internally inspect and certify the origin of a part when its genesis is in doubt.
DoD and its industry partners are casting a wider net for counterfeit activity beyond electronic systems. Indeed, the community expert recalled examples of how CTG had recently located and certified US Navy E-2C HAWKEYE aircraft oil pans as “genuine” parts, and within the last few weeks completed work to certify the authenticity of US Air Force F-16 landing gear components.
CTG’s domestic and expanding international defence portfolio includes competencies in sourcing-hard-to-find parts, custom kitting, obsolescence management and inventory management. With respect to sourcing hard-to-find parts, Mr Waring noted an example of where CTG located a hard-to-find part for a French Air Force C-130 that could not be located through other USAF and DLA sources.