Combating Counterfeits to
Protect National Security
Ensuring Military Readiness
Counterfeit electronic components, primarily from China, are threatening America’s homeland security and military preparedness as well as critical infrastructure such as telecommunications, power and transportation. Counterfeiters take their essential raw materials from e-waste exported from the United States and other countries, according to a study by theSenate Armed Services Committee.
Using primitive processes, counterfeiters process used microchips so they look like new. Difficult to detect, these counterfeits threaten the reliability of military technology as well as cars, airplanes, nuclear reactors, sensitive medical equipment and more. As industry experts have noted, e-waste export policy is key to stopping counterfeit electronic parts and protecting military readiness.
Despite Reforms, the Threat Remains Serious
While reforms of defense supply chains have helped, the problem persists. In 2019 a California-based electronics executive was convicted for selling counterfeit semiconductor chips with fake branding that ended up in U.S. military systems, including a classified weapons system. The counterfeits were pulled from electronic waste (e-waste) – used or discarded chips – then altered by Chinese counterfeiters to appear like new semiconductors and sold to defense contractors.
Beyond security issues, there are broader risks for Americans. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, counterfeits "threaten not only military systems but also commercial transportation systems, medical devices and systems, and the computers and networks that run today’s financial markets and communications systems."
Choking Off Counterfeiters' Feedstock
Our trade laws typically prevent exports of materials and services that may be detrimental to our national security and foreign policy. We need Congress to combat counterfeits by requiring amendments to our export policies as an essential step to protecting our military men and women, our national defense and our homeland security.
The Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA) will require domestic recycling of the untested, nonworking scrap that counterfeiters use. Learn More