Nuts and Bolts
A 1990 report by the General Accounting Office (GAO) identified several government agencies using counterfeit and substandard fasteners. Generally, fasteners refers to nuts, bolts, and screws. Among the government agencies listed in the GAO report is the Department of Defense (DOD), which discovered nonconforming parts in radar, sonar, and communications systems, as well as in the guidance systems for aircraft, ships, and missiles. The Department of Energy (DOE), also listed by the GAO, found nonconforming circuit breakers in several of its nuclear weapons facilities.
The GAO report documented that counterfeit and substandard parts have been discovered in 72 of America's 113 nuclear power plants. In 8 percent of the nuclear power plants, the counterfeit fasteners formed part of the safety system used to prevent the escape of radiation during a nuclear accident. Other counterfeit parts included fuses, pumps, valves, and circuit breakers.
The U.S. military and other governmental agencies are often duped into purchasing counterfeit and substandard fasteners. The government awards its work to the lowest bidder, who underbids by manufacturing a substandard or counterfeit product. For example, in the late 1980s, the DOD accepted bids for genuine Chrysler replacement pistons that were to be used in the military's M880 troop carrier. When Chrysler learned that an unauthorized parts distributor in Florida had won the bid, Chrysler contacted the DOD and filed a bid protest. After examining the pistons the DOD purchased, Chrysler discovered that the items were counterfeit and estimated the maximum life at 15,000 miles. Chrysler