Pentagon stirs up semiconductor industry with its requirement to mark parts with unique DNA

A new anti-counterfeiting requirement from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Fort Belvoir, Va., is triggering pushback from semiconductor manufacturers, who claim the new requirement is not an appropriate cure for electronics counterfeiting, does not adequate authenticate legacy semiconductors, has not been tested adequately, and will increase semiconductor manufacturing costs.

The DNA-marking mandate, which became effective on 15 November requires all semiconductors sold to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to be marked with DNA-based materials unique to each government contractor.

The intent is to prevent counterfeit parts from entering the DOD supply chain by authenticating each piece with a unique DNA-based signature. Using DNA — sort for deoxyribonucleic acid, or the biological building block of all life — is intended to provide a fool-proof fingerprint for each semiconductor the DOD buys to rule out the possibility of counterfeiting.

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