Adding an ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Executive Agent’ Fails to Make 2011 Defense Authorization Bill

The headline on InsideDefense.com last week was that the provision to add a Supply Chain Executive Agent to address counterfeiting was dropped from the Defense Authorization Bill.

This means it is still everyone’s problem . . . and no one person’s.

The attempt to identify and coordinate a single Executive Agent to address Supply Chain security can be found in the text of the House Appropriations Bill HR 5136, section 1063. I will include the wording below so that it is not necessary to comb through a thousand pages of congressional language:

Sec. 1063. EXECUTIVE AGENT FOR PREVENTING THE INTRODUCTION OF COUNTERFEIT MICROELECTRONICS INTO THE DEFENSE SUPPLY CHAIN.

A) EXECUTIVE AGENT. — Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall designate a senior official of the Department of Defense to serve as the executive agent for preventing the introduction of counterfeit microelectronics into the defense supply chain.

B) ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND AUTHORITIES

1) ESTABLISHMENT — Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe the roles, responsibilities, and authorities of the executive agent designated under subsection (a).

2) SPECIFICATION — The roles and responsibilities of the executive agent designated under subsection (a) shall include the following:

(a) Development and maintenance of a strategy and implementation plan that ensures that the Department of Defense has the ability to idenfity, mitigate, prevent, and eliminate counterfeit microelectronics from the defense supply chain.

(b) Development of recommendations for funding strategies necessary to meet the requirements of the strategy and implementation plan developed under subparagraph (A).

(c) Assessments of trends in counterfeit microelectronics, including:

(i) an analysis of recent incidents of discovery of counterfeit microelectronics in the defense supply chain, including incidents involving material and service providers;

(ii) a projection of future trends in counterfeit microelectronics;

(iii) the sufficiency of reporting mechanisms and metrics within the Department of Defense and each component of the Department of Defense;

(iv) the economic impact of identifying and remediating counterfeit microelectronics in the defense supply chain; and

(v) the impact of counterfeit microelectronics in the defense supply chain on defense readiness

(d) Coordination of planning and activities with interagency and international partners.

(e) Development and participation in public-private partnerships to prevent the introduction of counterfeit microelectronics into the supply chain.

(f) Such other roles and responsibilities as the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate.

(C) SUPPORT WITHIN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. — The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that each component of the Department of Defense provides the executive agent ¬†designated under subsection (a) with the appropriate support and resources needed to perform the roles, responsibilities, and authorities of the executive agent.

(D) REQUIRED ACTIONS. — The Secretary of Defense shall submit to the congressional defense committees–

(1) not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, a description of the roles, responsibilities, and authorities of the executive agent prescribed in accordance with subsection (b)(1);

(2) not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, a strategy for how the Department of Defense will identify, mitigate, prevent, and eliminate counterfeit electronics within the defense supply chain; and

(3) not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, an implementation plan for how the Department of Defense will execute the strategy submitted in accordance with paragraph (2).

This position, sensibly, will attempt to get a single DoD Office to focus on something that is everyone’s problem. The benefits of this, in particular, are the requirements to formulate a strategy as well as a funding recommendation for supply chain security solutions. The downsides, no doubt argued by the Pentagon, is that this is too large a problem to be focused on a small, initially unfunded office or individual.

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