When “Globalization” Is Really A Bad Idea

Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t see how sourcing critical components for our military from overseas, and especially frankly from China, can possibly be seen as a “good idea”

China’s government is refusing to assist Senate investigators probing Chinese firms that are selling counterfeit parts that have been found in high-tech U.S. weapons systems, the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday.

Committee Chairman Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, told reporters that a panel investigation revealed that U.S. defense contractors and government agencies traced the sources of most fake defense parts to Shenzhen, in Guangdong province near Hong Kong.

…A report by the Government Accountability Office published in March 2010 stated that the global supplier network used by the Pentagon provides 4 million parts worth $94 billion.

The parts include fasteners used on aircraft, missile guidance electronics, materials used in body armor and engine mounts.

Fine, buy fasteners and screws overseas…but missile guidance electronics? I’m sorry, that sort of technology we have to produce domestically.

That will do a lot more for our future than any mythical “green jobs.”

Mr. Levin said counterfeit parts that have “infiltrated” the defense supply chain include microprocessors bought by the Air Force for F-15 operational flight-control computers. Counterfeit microcircuits also were found on hardware of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency.

These parts are very complex and we simply do not know what other little “things” are implanted on those chips. Our security depends on those things and we can not allow them to be compromised in any way.

11 Responses to “When “Globalization” Is Really A Bad Idea”

  1. Gary from Jersey says:

    A story came out last year that the Chinese were making chips that spy on users. And NASCAR fans might remember what happened to Bill Elliot when an Earnheart fan shipped him bogus parts so Dale would win a championship. Don’t think the Chicoms haven’t thought of that.

  2. Skyler says:

    I had thought there were laws against using foreign manufacturers for our weapons.

    It’s a terrible idea, not only for the missile guidance components, but for the nuts and bolts and screws and engine mounts.

    If we can’t make nuts and bolts and screws for our military, then we will be beholden to those that can. You can have all the most wondrous fancy dancy technology, but if you can’t bolt it to something, then you have nothing.

    Our country should be completely self-supporting on anything our military needs to defend us.

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    Our country should be completely self-supporting on anything our military needs to defend us.

    I agree 100%

  4. Skyler says:

    And then maybe I could go back to engineering instead of being a lawyer!

  5. nightfly says:

    It’s amazing. How is this even a question in the DoD’s mind? And y’know – there are people out of work who would be more than happy to build this stuff domestically. The ONE time the gummermint can actually save or create jobs… and they don’t?

    What’s entirely possible here is that defense contractors are outsourcing this to help their own bottom line, and to hell with the law and common sense.

  6. Dave E. says:

    It sounds to me that the issue isn’t one of capability to produce and the parts are not being specified to be sourced from China. It’s happening because some unscrupulous contractor, subcontractor, or distributor is saving money by having a Chinese factory counterfeit the part instead of getting it from the specified source. In some cases it may be easy to determine where in the chain the counterfeits were inserted, but if multiple distributors are used for the same parts it can be very difficult to detect.

  7. Yojimbo says:

    Sounds like they are simply concerned with the counterfeit aspect and not with the fact that a possible future enemy is responsible for key components of our missiles and strike fighters.
    Call me old fashioned, but I would like some senators to start asking questions about something like this.

    Why do I think see another thanks Bill Clinton moment coming forth?

  8. JeffS says:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of government contracting, people. Because Dave E. pretty much nails it.

    It’s a combination of low bids and poor “quality assurance” on the part of the purchasing agencies. It’s a fair bet (without reading the GAO report) that most of these counterfeit parts were discovered after an investigation by the maintenance offices….and then only because of a drop in the mean time between failures.

  9. JeffS says:


    Yojimbo, you are probably right. Unfortunately.

  10. Ave says:

    And we wonder why our economy is in such bad shape? It’s because of the downright dumb choices we make that result in squandering our fundamental wealth and security to benefit other countries. Dumb, dumb.

  11. 1389AD says:

    I don’t TRUST foreign quality control on anything at all for our military, not even screws and nuts and bolts.

    Besides which, we need to have both the raw materials and the finished products sourced here, so that foreign producers cannot cut off our sources of supply.

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