• A Tale of Two SHIELDS: Marvel Comics, DARPA, and Counterfeiting

    A Tale of Two SHIELDS: Marvel Comics, DARPA, and Counterfeiting

    Marvel Comic’s SHIELD (Strategic help Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) and, slick as it is, it is more likely to wind up counterfeited than prevent counterfeiting

    It is a program devised by a secretive government agency. Its purpose is to organize and motivate the top actors in their fields to come together to prevent crimes that threaten not only the economy but our national security. It focuses its attention on producing cutting-edge technologies. It is SHIELD, and it is becoming a reality.

    No . . . no . . . not that SHIELD. That’s Marvel Comic’s SHIELD (Strategic help Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) and, slick as it is, it is more likely to wind up counterfeited than prevent counterfeiting. We’re talking about the Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense program being initiated by DARPA, and rather than placing a series of gigantic floating gun platforms in the upper atmosphere, it’s looking to place tiny 100 micron by 100 micron authentication dielets on all the electronic components used in Department of Defense programs.

  • Keys to Managing DMSMS: A Clear Assessment of Obsolescence Risk

    Keys to Managing DMSMS: A Clear Assessment of Obsolescence Risk

    “Proactively consider DMSMS through[out] a system’s life cycle by anticipating potential DMSMS occurrences and taking appropriate logistics, acquisition, and budgeting steps to prevent DMSMS from adversely affecting readiness or total ownership cost.” SD-22 DMSMS Guidebook Continued from a previous post: Being Proactive While obsolescence management traditionally starts after products become mature, that is really waiting […]

  • Software Obsolescence: Why Modernization Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Modern”

    Software Obsolescence: Why Modernization Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Modern”

    For players in the embedded industry it is easy to forget how large the problem of obsolescence can be, especially beyond the component level. Recently, I was talking to a software engineer who had spent a year doing software modernization, as a result of upgrading a flight navigational system from the original code to Linux.

    The reasoning for the transition certainly made sense—the program was having difficulties finding software engineers who could continue to sustain programming that had been implemented during the early 1980s. While the system was incredibly robust and was considered “bulletproof,” it could no longer be supported the way it had been. Under pressure to upgrade, the program moved to Linux, which has a community that affords an active and growing resource for talent.

  • Golf: A Good Thing Never Truly Becomes Obsolete

    Golf: A Good Thing Never Truly Becomes Obsolete

    Every year at National Instruments NI Week in Austin, TX the GDCA team gets to enjoy a wave of hot weather that is only overshadowed by a tide of hot technology innovation. NI Week does a wonderful job of providing a forum for education and inspiration. As one of the few conferences where GDCA has a booth, we decided to challenge the NI Week attendees putting skills by bringing out “The Beast”—10 feet of the most challenging green we’ve ever encountered at a conference. Because we were keeping in mind the balance of innovation and legacy, we had two putters handy for people to try: a state of the art putter supplied by Ethan, and a legacy putter from the 1930s supplied by our in-house golf champ, Arlin.

  • Are PCs becoming obsolete?

    Are PCs becoming obsolete?

    Recently on NPR I heard that PC sales have hit a record low.  With the growing touch screen market, even Windows is focusing their innovation and development on the tablet market and with operating systems like the recently updated Windows 8.  Bringing together the best of both worlds is the “convertible” market, where your “laptop” […]

  • COTS: A “reactive” good idea

    COTS: A “reactive” good idea

    Following a directive from the US military in the early 1990s, the defense industry made a shift from using custom embedded electronic components made to military specifications to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components.  Since the overall share of the DoD as a consumer was expected to shrink over time, this move to reduce costs took a practical […]

  • Sometimes Obsolescence is a Good Thing

    Sometimes Obsolescence is a Good Thing

    Throughout my work with GDCA and all the issues around obsolescence, I have never come across someone who believes that obsolescence is something to be celebrated and welcomed.  Everything associated with obsolescence is considered something to be avoided. The concept of planned obsolescence brings with it connotations of either designing a product to wear out […]

  • Looking at Legacy: Proactively managing the risk of counterfeit components

    Looking at Legacy: Proactively managing the risk of counterfeit components

    In general, defense sustainment and counterfeit avoidance has been left to DMSMS teams and logistics or engineering tactics.  However, so far the solution has primarily been to develop standards, authentication and anti-counterfeit technologies.  These responses have been critical, but have largely remained reactive and have not produced the dynamic collaboration crucial to maintaining a healthy, proactive supply chain.  Instead, each player is left facing inward — focusing on solutions from their own particular positions in the supply chain — but without the resources to truly be proactive.

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