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New Government Reports Recognize Vital Role of U.S. Printed Circuit Board Industry

Two recently released reports from the Department of Defense and the U.S. Commerce Department emphasize the government’s growing awareness of the importance of the U.S. printed circuit board industry in protecting national security.

Following a year of active engagement with Congress and Department of Defense policy makers, the Association Connecting Electronic Industries, or IPC, and the IPC PCB Executive Agent Task Force members are pleased to see their efforts are having a noticeable effect, as evidenced by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Commerce Department reports. The Department of Defense publication, “Report on Trusted Defense Systems in Response to National Defense Authorization Act, Section 254,” was developed to fulfill a FY09 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, requirement to assess Department of Defense programs to identify vulnerabilities in the supply chain of each program’s electronics and information processing systems that potentially compromise trust in the systems. Although the body of the report is classified, the report recognizes the critical role of domestic manufacturing of electronic interconnect hardware and technology, and the need to focus on their security in addition to that of integrated circuits. The report is intended to be the basis for new Department of Defense policies to promote security of the most sensitive defense electronic hardware.

This past January, the U.S. Commerce Department released a comprehensive study titled “Defense Industrial Base Assessment: Counterfeit Electronics.” The Executive Summary of the study includes the statement, “Naval Air Systems Command suspected that an increasing number of counterfeit/defective electronics were infiltrating the Department of Defense supply chain and affecting weapon system reliability.” The report, available online, identifies printed boards as well as both passive and active components as key counterfeit parts.

Recognizing the vital role of the printed board industry in ensuring national security, Congress, in the FY09 NDAA, directed the Department of Defense to appoint an PCB Executive Agent (EA) to ensure the future supply of leading-edge circuit board technology to the Department of Defense from secure sources. IPC, in turn, created an IPC PCB Executive Agent Task Force, made up of leading North American printed board manufacturers, to assist the PCB Executive Agent.

“There is no doubt that the efforts of the IPC—and the IPC PCB Executive Agent Task Force—have clearly raised the visibility and the vital importance that the North American printed circuit board industry plays in defense systems,” said Michael Moisan, corporate vice president of technology, TTM Technologies, Inc., and a member of the IPC PCB Executive Agent Task Force,

IPC’s PCB EA Task Force has published two documents that were made available to the industry and the Department of Defense: “IPC Policy Recommendations to the Department of Defense Printed Circuit Board Executive Agent—North American Electronic Interconnect Industry Support to the Department of Defense” and “IPC Printed Board Defense Roadmap—Future Needs of Printed Boards in Department of Defense Electronics Identified by the North American Electronic Interconnect Industry.”

The IPC PCB EA Task Force is currently developing a standard on “Best Industry Practices for Intellectual Property Protection,” which will assist printed board manufacturers in the development of requirements for the legal protection of intangible rights for their customers in commercial, industrial and military/high reliability markets.

More information on the activities of the IPC PCB Executive Agent Task Force is available online. You may also  contact Fern Abrams, IPC director of government relations and environmental policy, at +1 703-522-0225.
 

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