Tackling the Scourge of Obsolete Electronic Parts
Earlier this year I shared a few thoughts on the topic of Identification and Replacement of Obsolete Electronic Parts related to Section 803 of the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (Public Law 113-66). Entitled “Identification and Replacement of Obsolete Electronic Parts”, Section 803, as you might recall, requires the Secretary of Defense to “…implement a process for the expedited identification and replacement of obsolete electronic parts included in acquisition programs of the Department of Defense.” The provision goes on in sub-paragraph (b)(5) to require that the expedited process shall “… provide that, in addition to the responsibilities under Section 2337 of Title 10, United States Code, a product support manager for a major weapon system shall work to identify obsolete electronic parts that are included in the specifications for an acquisition program of the Department of Defense and approve suitable replacements for such electronic parts.”
I suspect most defense acquisition workforce professionals would likely to agree that, while this provision specifically assigns identification of obsolete electronic parts responsibility to the Product Support Manager (PSM), this is by no menas a solo endeavor. The magnitude and scope of this responsibility necessitates systems and sustaining engineering, life cycle logsitics, program manager, and other supply chain management and sustainment organization engagement, among others.
Let’s be clear about terminology, as there are two terms that potentially factor into this discussion. Specifically:
· Diminishing Manufacturing Sources & Material Shortages (DMSMS), which according to Enclosure 3 of Volume 3 of DoD Manual 4140.01-V3, is defined as “the loss or impending loss of manufacturers of items or suppliers of items or raw materials may cause material shortages that endanger a weapon system’s or equipment’s development, production, or post-production support capability.”
· This is quite similar to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Subpart 202.1 definition of “obsolete electronic part, which “means an electronic part that is no longer in production by the original manufacturer or an aftermarket manufacturer that has been provided express written authorization from the current design activity or original manufacturer.” See also page 26104 of the Federal Register (May 6, 2014) for additional perspectives on this topic.
Several key resources I would also commend to DoD Product Support Managers (PSM) who are actively engaging in this important responsibility: