IPC Prepares Policy Recommendations to Department of Defense Printed Circuit Board Executive Agent
Emphasis on Strengthening North American PCB Industry

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., USA, April 24, 2009 — IPC — National security is an important priority for all Americans — a priority that the printed circuit board (PCB) industry plays a vital role in. Recognizing this fact, Congress mandated the Department of Defense (DoD) to designate a PCB Executive Agent (EA) by January 2009 to strengthen national defense readiness. Although the DoD has selected the Navy as the EA, the appointment is in the confirmation stages. In the interim, a special IPC task force has forged ahead with the development of policy recommendations and is prepared to aid the DoD PCB Executive Agent when the appointment is finalized.

Charged with the development and implementation of a PCB interconnect technology roadmap for the DoD, the EA is required to create a policy to ensure that the DoD has access to PCB manufacturing capabilities and the technical expertise necessary to meet future military requirements.

Recognizing the magnitude of the tasks before the EA, IPC mobilized a panel of experts comprising executives from leading North American PCB manufacturers to develop comprehensive policy recommendations for building upon and sustaining a North American PCB industry capable of supporting DoD needs and ensuring national security. The task force includes senior officers of Colonial Circuits Inc.; Ddi Corp.; EIT Inc.; Hunter Technology; IMI Inc.; Sanmina-SCI; TTM Technologies; and Vulcan Flex Circuits Corp.

The most pressing of the six recommendations is for the DoD to source noncritical technology domestically in order to support a robust and technically advanced domestic supply base. ”Businesses diversify their projects to ensure that volatile market fluctuations don’t result in devastating financial losses or closure of the facility. Access to less complex PCBs for DoD use will provide manufacturers with sustained, predictable financial support, ensuring stability within a dependable, consistent and secure supply base for the DoD,” said task force member Mike Moisan of TTM Technologies.

Additional policy recommendations from the IPC task force:

  • Creation of a DoD-funded PCB consortium to conduct research and development to ensure that PCB manufacturers are able to supply, and support future product needs of, the DoD and original equipment manufacturers.
  • The DoD shall mandate that prime contractors submit a circuit board technology GAP analysis in their formal bids to the DoD in order to ascertain what is feasible, and accordingly dedicate research and development funding for technologically limited areas.
  • Transparent information on DoD funding as well as creation of tax incentives, rebates, and/or credits for PCB manufacturers that supply the DoD will significantly renew interest and investment by U.S. based companies.
  • The DoD should enforce compliance with current standards, such as military (MIL-SPEC), International Traffic in Arms regulations (ITAR) and IPC standards adopted by the DoD, in order to ensure trust of PCBs intended for the DoD.
  • Prime contractors working on DoD programs must be involved in and actively participate in the development and ongoing maintenance of PCB technology roadmaps.

Over the past few weeks, IPC has sent letters to several members of Congress and staff at the DoD to request meetings to discuss the policy recommendations in further detail. The recommendations will also be a highlight of discussion at IPC’s upcoming Capitol Hill Day, May 6–7 in Washington, D.C.

To view the complete IPC Policy Recommendations to the Department of Defense Printed Circuit Board Executive Agent, visit www.ipc.org/PCB-Competitiveness . For more information on IPC’s government relations activities, contact Ron Chamrin, IPC manager of government relations, at +1 847-597-2950 or RonChamrin@ipc.org.

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About IPC IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 2,700 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $1.5 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Garden Grove, Calif.; Stockholm, Sweden; and Shanghai, China.


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