DoD-like counterfeit parts legislation in NASA act

NASA signThe latest version of the US bill that provides federal funding to NASA contains anti-counterfeit clauses analogous to those introduced for the Department of Defense.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4412) - which was approved by the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology last month - contains a section (No. 611) that requires NASA's Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to be revised to cover the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts.

The FAR revisions should be made within 270 days of the Act being enacted, according to the document, which has now been passed on to the floor of the House of Representatives.

The clauses in Section 611 are reminiscent of the FAR that was recently revised for the DoD, for example requiring contractors who supply electronic parts or products that include electronic parts - as well as their subcontractors - to be responsible for detecting and avoiding the use or inclusion of counterfeits.

The clause defines electronic parts that come under the scope of the bill as a "discrete electronic component, including a microcircuit, transistor, capacitor, resistor, or diode that is intended for use in a safety or mission critical application."

Ideally, parts should only be sourced from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or their authorised distributor or - if not in production or stock - from qualified suppliers. Documented evidence of inspection, testing and authentication of parts must be provided to NASA if they come from other sources, it adds.

The cost of counterfeit electronic parts and rework or corrective action is unallowable, in common with the DoD requirements, and any contractor or subcontractor who has reason to suspect that any item is counterfeit must report this to NASA within 30 days.

The NASA Authorization Act sets a budget of $17.65bn for the agency and reiterates the agency's intention to pursue a human spaceflight to Mars along with support for other projects including the development of a new space telescope that will detect Earth-sized planets.

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