Fraud Working Group keeps supply chain genuine, safe

Potentially counterfeit circuit board.

Airman 1st Class Patrick Nunn, an airfield systems technician with the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron, examines a circuit board at Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 17, 2016. Circuit boards, and many other complex pieces of military hardware, are susceptible to counterfeit components making their way into the supply chain. Personnel at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., will have the opportunity to learn how to respond to reports of counterfeit hardware during the Northeast U.S. Fraud Working Group, Oct. 26 at the Hanscom Conference Center.. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Pick)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Hanscom personnel can learn how to respond to reports of counterfeit materials supplied by manufacturers and potentially receive continuous learning points if they attend a an Air Force Fraud Working Group meeting Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. in the Conference Center here.

The group meets biannually, providing real-world training to the acquisition community. This year’s event focuses on an incident in December 2015, when a major defense contractor received a batch of aircraft communication system circuit boards containing potentially counterfeit resistors.

“We hope acquisition and contracting personnel at Hanscom learn a little bit about what to do if a contractor brings a suspected case of fraud to them,” said Brett Jordan, Air Force Research Lab Rapid Response Failure Analysis team lead for electronics at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, who will be presenting. “When you have one of these cases, getting to the bottom of it is how we protect Airmen.”

Jordan investigated the resistor case and will be presenting his team’s findings during the Northeast U.S. Fraud Working Group event, formerly named the Boston Area Fraud Working Group. The Air Force’s step-by-step response, relying on Jordan’s findings, several legal offices and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, set the benchmark for counterfeit response.

Air Force platforms are extremely complex weapons of war, comprised of tens of thousands of pieces of hardware and millions of lines of software code. Hardware supply chains are susceptible to fraudulent parts that can endanger the combat effectiveness of aircraft and put service member’s safety at risk, according to a 2012 U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee investigation.

“Fraud in our equipment supply chain has not gone away,” said Philip Tourangeau, Air Force Materiel Command’s acquisition fraud counsel, assigned to the legal office at WPAFB. “Prevention starts with educating yourself on this common problem, and knowing exactly how to respond if it happens to your program.”

Jordan’s response team is available, free of charge, for technical investigations when requested by Air Force Life Cycle Management Center program offices. In addition to learning from the real-world case, contracting officer representatives from several directorates at Hanscom will participate in a panel discussion on fraud response. The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon, when those interested can continue discussions and network over lunch.

To register, personnel with common access card-enabled computers can navigate here and click on “Apply for a CL event” in the left-hand menu. Then select “Northeast U.S. Fraud Working Group meeting” from the “event” drop down menu. Continuing professional education, or CPE, credit hours are issued via certificate at the event.