By Steve Tepp
As we celebrate this anniversary of America’s independence, it is important to reflect on the freedoms and rights that we’ve been afforded and what it took to secure them. Over 200 years ago, soldiers lined up shoulder-to-shoulder on the soil on which we now have built our livelihoods, and bravely fought those wishing to oppress. Though much has changed over a couple of centuries, the heroism of our soldiers has not.
Day in and day out, our military men and women who have shipped out to unfamiliar lands, put their lives on the line all for the sake of keeping us free and safe. They do this not because they have to, but because they feel a profound sense of patriotism for this country. For those of us who are unable to directly serve in the military, we too have a duty to our country, and that is to support our war fighters.
One major avenue in which we can support our soldiers is to provide them with the best quality equipment possible. This is why it is immensely troubling to hear that the military’s supply chain could be compromised by counterfeit parts. The possibility of Americans betrayed in the heat of battle by shoddy, counterfeit equipment is an outrage. We may not know exactly how these sub-par parts managed to infiltrate our military supplies, but with the explosive growth of rogue websites dedicated to this type of illicit activity, we know that counterfeits are now more common than ever.
Rogue websites not only have the ability to deceive those in the marketplace, and eventually our military, with counterfeit products, they also dupe the everyday American consumer into purchasing dangerously defective goods. The products that these websites push present a danger to consumers, a danger to American jobs in the companies that produce the legitimate and safe products that counterfeiters pretend to offer, and a danger to our military. Thankfully, Congress has recently turned its attention to rogue websites through the introduction of the PROTECT IP Act, which will give law enforcement enhanced tools to cut off the worst of the worst online counterfeiters from the U.S. marketplace.
While we reflect on better equipping our soldiers, in doing so, it is essential that we renew the push for better equipping our law enforcement in the struggle against rogue websites. Our war fighters already face challenges and conditions the rest of us can only imagine, we owe it to them to ensure that their lives aren’t further endangered by counterfeits.