Thursday, July 07, 2011

Diversity Thursday

How, you may ask, is there a connection between Cyberwar and Diversity?

Simple - as the Social Marxist construct known as "Diversity" and its base of affirmative discrimination gets it fingers in everything ---- there are other things that must be sacrificed.

We must have priorities, you see.
The flood of counterfeit military microelectronics results largely from the Pentagon's need for parts for aging equipment and its long efforts to save money. In the mid-1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Clinton Administration launched an initiative, continued during the Bush years, of buying all sorts of components off the shelf. In addition to the traditional pattern of purchasing equipment from original manufacturers and their large, authorized distributors, the Pentagon began doing business with smaller U.S. parts brokers that sprang up to offer low-cost items, including microchips. Federal affirmative-action goals have further encouraged the military to favor suppliers that qualify as "disadvantaged." The chips wholesale for as little as 10 cents and as much as $2,000 each, depending on their complexity and quality. The Pentagon spends about $3.5 billion a year on spare chips, many of them for planes and ships that are 10 or 20 years old.
Harmless?
It's very difficult to determine whether tiny fake parts have contributed to particular plane crashes or missile mishaps, says Robert P. Ernst, who heads research into counterfeit parts for the Naval Air Systems Command's Aging Aircraft Program in Patuxent River, Md. Ernst estimates that as many as 15% of all the spare and replacement microchips the Pentagon buys are counterfeit. As a result, he says, "we are having field failures regularly within our weapon systems—and in almost every weapon system." He declines to provide details but says that, in his opinion, fake parts almost certainly have contributed to serious accidents. When a helicopter goes down in Iraq or Afghanistan, he explains, "we don't always do the root-cause investigation of every component failure."

UPDATE: More fail and some very funny comments here.

Hat tip Andrew.

19 comments:

Grumpy Old Ham said...

While there's plenty of ills that can be directly pinned on the Diversity Diktat(s), I'm not so sure this one is near the top.  I'd lay the blame for the counterfeit parts problem more on the loss of the US industrial base than on the use of small/disadvatanged set-asides...and the root cause (IMNSHO) of manufacturing loss is years (decades) of anti-business policy emanating from various leftists.

DoD seems to be damned if they do, damned if they don't.  If DoD relies on the big, bad military industrial complex for spare parts sourcing then the usual suspects whine about cost; relying on low-bid competitive sourcing without proper oversight leads to the problem described in this post.  As the old saying goes, "Good-fast-cheap:  pick any two, but not all three".   =-O

BTW, the counterfeit parts problem isn't a new issue:
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_31/b4044056.htm

<span>Fears about the safety consequences of outsourcing maintenance have been around since at least 2001. Worries were heightened in 2003, when an Air Midwest commuter jet crashed, killing 21, following faulty work by a domestic maintenance subcontractor. Now those anxieties are on the rise again as major carriers, faced with soaring fuel prices and cutthroat competition, move more of their work overseas. </span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

GOH,

Perhaps it is not near the top of the ills that the DiversiNazis foist upon us, but Sal's assertion that such "disadvantaged" suppliers are now top on DoD's list is an appropriate one. 

Though I run a 100% veteran-owned business that, conceivably, also has a leg up on the competition, I have been reliably informed that the Veterans' Preference block is a very distant second to "disadvantaged", which is virtually entirely based on race. 

Make no mistake, the Veterans' Preference is far different from any race-based selection process.  However, veterans do not have powerful activists and advocates in the highest levels of government, pushing them to the top of any and all formerly merit-based selection processes.

CDR Salamander said...

URR gets the point of the post.  The ammount of fraud, waste and abuse in these program is amazing.  How the son of a millionaire is considered "disadvantaged" is beyond me.  The daughter of one of the most important people in his state "disadvantaged" just because she if female?  The guy who makes his wife head of the company on paper?  Shall we go on?

Grumpy Old Ham said...

Don't dispute that the set-aside process, almost by definition, introduces all sorts of distortions into the procurement process, not the least of which is the creation of de facto shell companies nominally headed by a member of one (or in bonus cases, multiple) protected/favored classes who are really just exploiting the system.

That such vendors and suppliers provide substandard or counterfeit parts and get away with it is at least equally attributable to the lack of US manufacturing, poor oversight on DoD's part (well documented here in other areas), and the favored status of such suppliers.  If the "preferred" vendors all went away tomorrow, though, we'd still have to deal with the counterfeit parts issue.

Anonymous said...

Having worked for and subcontracted through 8a's in federal government service (hence, an anonymous post), I know that there are many shells out there. 8a's also know that they needn't be competent to win contracts, since rules insist on a percentage of set-asides. It disgusts me. Of course, since federal employees themselves can't be fired for incompetence without years of effort and mounds of paperwork, it's simply par for the course.

Anonymous said...

Yet more affirmation that the World (or at least our quadrent of terra firma) is being run by crazy people..

The Usual Suspect said...

<span>An example of how something as low tech as a nut, let alone a chip, can be when subjected to the set aside program...http://theworldlink.com/news/local/article_998c33aa-dae0-11df-8e21-001cc4c03286.html  </span>
http://theworldlink.com/news/local/article_e9352e12-e2cd-11df-89a4-001cc4c002e0.html
<span>Owned by one of the wealthiest, but disadvantaged.  Examples abound.</span>
Today, 8:13:16 AM<span><span> – </span>Like</span><span><span> – </span>Reply</span><span><span> – </span>Delete</span>

Sean said...

You know it has permeated all levels of the system when the built in data screens for major ERP/MRP systems already have fields built in for you to flag vendors as "minority owned" or "women owned" vendors and you could sort the canned vendorerfor ance reports by these criteria...

More bloat in the software that I do not want, do not use , and less attention to the day to day functions of the software that I do use and do want to work as advertised...

AW1 Tim said...

Then there is this:

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/07/06/27-billion-later-armys-intelligence-sharing-computer-system-still-doesnt-work/

 I'm all for hi-tech wizardry. But when the balloon goes up, the only cloud we'll be seeing is a mushroom-shaped one. We also need to be doing two-lane development. One for this sort of hi-yech, and another for iron-sights monkey-model gear for use when all the electronis are gone.

  It going to heppen, and the winners will be those who can communicate and navigate and still fight sucessfully without computers, GPS and Data-Link.  HF/UHF, Sextants, iron sights. They still work, especially when everyone else is reduced to the same tech level.

Paddy Murphy said...

Deficient product making its way into the warfighter's hands? This isn't the case of the company that turns out millions of widgets with a 0.001% failure rate, this is pure fraud.

Where are the contracting officers and CORs in this process? How are they conducting quality assurance? I bet a close look at COR Files and QASP logs will show some gundecking...

Do any of these counterfeit chips process crypto?

Guest said...

Grumpy Old Ham ignores the majority of oligarchy servant GOP free traders who betrayed our workers and were supposedly "rightists." Always accusing the correct policy-Buchanan's and Teddy Roosevelt's- of being "nativist" and "reactionary."

AW1 Tim said...

Sorry about my spelling. I'm using one good eye and it'll be awhile before the other one gets fixed.  Sigh.

DeltaBravo said...

:(

DeltaBravo said...

Is this where I invade this post with more show tunes?

"Tiny doubles (tiny doubles)
Don't work fine (don't work fine)
Make work crappy (Make work crappy)
Make us decline (make us decline)


*okay... I'll go whistle somewhere else.*

But wasn't there a Bugs Bunny cartoon about this once... about sabotage?  At the very least it could be a security hazard.  We're doing this all wrong and leaving quality control to the wrong people.

Aubrey said...

OK DB, I just spit gin-and-tonic out of my nose!  I now have this vision of the CO of one of Ewok's victimized LCS's singing your song on his way down...

Aubrey said...

Damn right!  Down with everyone!  My Illuminati overlords are in a fight to death with the evil capitalist pig that is Lt B and his foolish despot Ming the Merciless!

Guest, you must lead us into the Promised Land!

(dammit, I really need to stop posting after 2 gin-and-tonics!)

pk said...

been there done that  ..... both sides.

C

pk said...

as we speak there is a pressure group squeezing the veterans adminstration to take a major portion of the los angeles cemetary and build housing for "disadvantaged" viet nam veterans (only about 3% of which can pass the standard identification checks) [one thing about the VA is that they can find out if you raised your hand and "promised and swore" in about 90 seconds].

so URR fight the good fight and remember, reputation is made day by day.

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

Yep. "Shoddy" was originally a weave of cloth (like "gabardine"), the one used for Union Army enlisted uniforms.

The nickname in the Royal Navy for Salt Pork (packed in barrels as ship rations) was "Salt Horse".

None the less, hang all war profiteers.