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Northbrook, Ill. — IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries states that it stands behind and is encouraged by Congressional efforts to strengthen the Department of Defense's (DOD's) U.S. content procurement policy because of the potential positive effect it would have on U.S. suppliers of military-grade printed circuit boards (PCBs).
In May 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1588, "The FY 2004 National Defense Authorization Act," led by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), which implements "Buy America" laws by requiring the amount of U.S. manufactured content required in major DOD purchases be 65 percent.
The provision also requires the Department of Defense to assess and monitor the health of the defense industrial base, identify areas of U.S. dependence on foreign sources and force the DOD to buy critical components from U.S. sources where available. Additionally, the bill establishes a fund to bolster diminishing U.S. industries and establish capabilities to produce critical components where none currently exists.
Over the past two years, it is estimated that the domestic PCB industry has contracted by more than 30 percent, with large manufacturers moving offshore and small fabricators forced to close. Future technological innovation and availability for military applications has also been significantly impacted, as the potential number of U.S. military PCB suppliers has dramatically reduced.
Also, while military dependence on commercial off-the-shelf electronic systems for both new and old weapons and equipment has increased, the ability of U.S. companies to supply those technologies is lagging. Suppliers of legacy systems may no longer exist and emerging technology is being developed and manufactured offshore.The military has seen increasing cases of single source and no-bid conditions for some of their most critical leading edge PCB requirements.To view a description of the provision, visit www.ipc.org/3.0_Industry/3.3_Gov_Relations/BuyAmericaProv.pdf.
IPC is a trade association dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its more than 2,300 member companies, which represent all facets of the electronic interconnection industry, including design, printed circuit board manufacturing and electronics assembly. For more information, visit www.ipc.org.