If a government contractor purchases parts which turn out to be counterfeit or suspect, who should bear the costs of those parts? New requirements proposed by the Department of Defense would block contractors from passing along the cost to the government. The new regulations are contained in Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement 2012-D055.
The proposed regulations provide only a vague definition of what is a counterfeit part and does not define specific tests to determine if a part is counterfeit.
Hopefully, the final version will provide a clearer definition and an outline of how parts should be tested. The U.S. government also needs to be careful not to go to the other extreme. The best testing methods will change over time as counterfeiters continually grow more sophisticated. In addition, the best test protocol may vary depending on the specific part and how it is going to be used.
One advantage to the proposed regulations is that it will push contractors to be more careful who they buy their parts from. If the parts turn out to be counterfeit, the contractor may now have to bear the cost of those parts.