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Standards

Pioneer in Obsolescence Management and Legacy Sustainment for embedded technology

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • DNA tagging: A post production anti-counterfeit solution?

    DNA tagging: A post production anti-counterfeit solution?

    No matter what your opinion; DNA tagging is currently one of the top methods being discussed to ensure component authentication.  The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) even issued a Request for Information on the subject.

    Unfortunately, due to the costs projected and associated with DNA tagging and authentication, few businesses appear to be looking forward to the prospect.

    At first glance DNA tagging, like many of the industry’s current solutions, makes sense:  increase the complexity of the marks so that counterfeiters are unable reproduce it. DNA would be a “tag” both difficult and expensive to try and recreate.  However, DNA tagging and many of the solutions being proposed are “point forward” solutions that, in order to be truly effective, would need to be implemented at the component manufacturing level, not once parts have left the factory floor.

  • Vehicle Electronics and the U.S. Army’s New VICTORY Standard

    You can see in the picture of this Humvee (HMMWV), with all the bolt-on equipment there is barely room for the driver.

    Imagine, in order to do your daily job, you had Linux for email, an Apple II for web browsing, an old Windows 95 tower for excel spreadsheets, and a DOS machine for word processing. Rotary phones only work for some people you need to call, and you need a cellphone for others. Floppy drives, zip disks, punch cards, tape spools, fax machines, scanners, and a dot matrix printer… and the various hardware is all proprietary, yet necessary.  Not only is there no room for you at your desk, you seem to spend a lot of time (on your touch-tone phone) with technical support.

    Like the image above, modern combat vehicle electronics can resemble a bowl of hardware spaghetti.  Different “bolt-on” devices and adaptors are stitched together by multiple suppliers who may be using different standards and interfaces.  With barely enough room for a soldier wearing body armor, integration and interoperability have become key concerns.

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