A Closer Look at DFARS

The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Detection and Avoidance of Counterfeit Electronic Parts (DFARS Case 2012-D055) specifies that contractors who supply electronic parts or items that include electronic parts under contracts covered by the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) are responsible for “detecting and avoiding the use or inclusion of counterfeit electronic parts or suspect counterfeit electronic parts.” Covered contractors must flow down the requirements to all subcontracts at all tiers, including subcontracts for commercial items and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) items. It is worth noting that “electronic part” means an integrated circuit, a discrete electronic component or a circuit assembly (section 818(f)(2) of Pub. L. 112–81). This mitigates the proliferation of counterfeit parts by requiring prime defense contractors to use “trusted suppliers” which implement a counterfeit avoidance plan for parts that are not purchased from an OEM or authorized distributor. The rule is effective May 6, 2014, and is available here.

In general, the main points of the DFARS are:

  • Firms that already maintain a certification to the most recent standards such as AS5553A and AS6081 should both maintain these levels of counterfeit mitigation and encourage other firms to do so
  • Those suppliers which are compliant, but not certified to up-to-date standards should strongly consider certification in order to keep pace with the flow down of DFARS, as well as for the limiting of liability
  • Firms which do not maintain a counterfeit avoidance program should immediately develop a program that is, at the very least, compliant with current standards, and should rapidly pursue certification to these standards. This is both for the good of the firm and for the good of the ultimate customer, the Warfighter

Feel free to contact Vice President Chris Alessio with any questions related to Hunter’s supply chain.