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DCMA

DCMA Titanium Request for Information (October-November 2006)
Substitution of Billet for Forged Bar and Rolled Plate requirements

Frequently Asked Questions
Posted November 13, 2009 except where noted


Question 1: Conditional Acceptance
Question 2: Using Suspect Titanium
Question 3: Government Furnished Parts and Components
Question 4: Classified Programs
Question 5: Beta-Annealed Parts
Question 6: COTS Standard Hardware Items
Question 7: Safety of Flight (SOF) Item
Question 8: Critical Safety Item (CSI)
Question 9: Approved Source and Qualified Product List (QPL) Items
Question 10: Inventory Control Point (ICP)
Question 11: Covered Parts and Components Revised 12-10-09
Question 12: Responses Not Limited to WTI
Question 13: DCMA Industry Forum
Question 14: Negative Responses
Question 15: Identify All Suppliers
Question 16: Additional Suspect Suppliers
Question 17: Investigation of Suppliers
Question 18: Subcontractors who are also Prime Contractors

Question:  Conditional Acceptance – When is it appropriate to conditionally accept parts or components containing or produced from suspect or nonconforming rolled plate or forged bar?
Answer:  The FAR 46.407 process must be followed when a contractor seeks to use or deliver items containing nonconforming or suspect titanium.   As a general rule, DCMA does Not accept items manufactured from suspect or nonconforming titanium.  DCMA’s internal tasking memorandum does Not authorize conditional acceptance.  Authorization comes only in writing from the PCO and after FAR 46.407 analysis.

All items containing rolled plate or forged bar sourced to Western Titanium Inc. (WTI) or Mach 2 Metals Inc. (M2M) shall be subject to PCO authorization and use of the DD250 conditional acceptance note if the FAR 46.407 process results in a decision to accept rather than reject the items.  This treatment is a result of WTI and M2M being indicted for substitution of billet for rolled plate and forged bar.  If Other Suppliers are suspected or known to Not conform due to substitution of billet for rolled plate or forged bar, the same process shall be followed.
Where reasons other than substitution of billet cause Other Suppliers to be suspected or known to Not conform to rolled plate or forged bar specifications, the FAR 46.407 process shall be used to determine whether to accept or reject the items in question.  If the FAR 46.407 process results in a decision to conditionally accept, the DD 250 note shall be used and, if required by FAR 46.407, PCO authorization shall be obtained.
 
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Question:  Using Suspect Titanium – How should a QAS and/or ACO respond to a contractor who seeks to use titanium sourced to Western Titanium, Inc. (WTI) or Mach 2 Metals, Inc. (M2M), or seeks to use other titanium of known or suspect nonconformance?
Answer:  Each contractor is required to use only conforming metals and must take adequate steps to insure that titanium materials conform to contract specifications at the prime, subcontract and supplier levels.  Contractors must take necessary steps to insure that rolled plate and forged bar titanium conforms to contract specifications.  The indictment of WTI and M2M demonstrates that mere reliance on certificates of conformance from suppliers is Not sufficient.  For example, the indictment reveals that cross section dimensions listed on material certificates and/or heat treatment certificates must be carefully examined and may reveal nonconformance.  These dimensions can reveal that the material is billet rather than the required forged bar or rolled plate.
Beyond substitution of billet, contractors must recognize that cut-down forged bar may Not be substituted for rolled plate requirements.  
The appropriate use of conditional acceptance is addressed in a separate FAQ.  If the Government finds it necessary to accept an item containing rolled plate or forged bar sourced to WTI or M2M, then acceptance shall require PCO written authorization, shall be conditional, and shall contain the required DD250 note from the internal tasking memorandum regardless of the level of confidence or risk associated with acceptance.

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Question:  Government Furnished Parts and Components – Must a contractor determine titanium material requirements and conformance for Government Furnished Material or for items a contractor purchases or requisitions directly from Government entities?
Answer: No. The DCMA request for information (RFI) focuses on the prime contractor, its subcontract management and its supplier control. GFM and items purchased from Government entities are outside of the prime contractor's subcontract and supplier management responsibilities. If the prime contractor identifies these items in its report, it would be appropriate to list the Government entity as the “subcontractor” and the titanium supplier as “unknown.” If the Government wants the titanium in GFM or other Government source items traced, the Government will have to trace it directly through the original prime contractor that initially delivered the items to the Government.  Return to Top

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Question:  Government Furnished Parts and Components Question: Classified Programs – How should information be reported?
Answer: Information on classified programs should be separately reported to the administrative contracting officer or technical point of contact for the classified program or contract in question.

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Question:  Beta-Annealed Parts – May parts that have been beta-annealed after manufacturing be excluded from the reports?
Answer:  No.  The microstructure prior to heat treatment will have a significant influence on the post-beta heat treated material.  If that microstructure is bad, we are not aware of any data that indicates the beta-annealed microstructures will be good.  Additionally, where there is a lack of proper ultrasonic inspection of the substituted billet, there may be large defects in the material that would not be removed by beta heat treatment.

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Question:  COTS Standard Hardware Items – May commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items be excluded from the information request?
Answer:  No.  If the COTS standard hardware items were acquired subject to one of the listed forged bar or rolled plate specifications, those COTS hardware items must be included in the response. 

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Question:  Safety of Flight (SOF) Item – What is the definition for SOF item?
Answer:  A safety of flight (SOF) item is one whose failure could cause loss of the aircraft or aircrew, or cause inadvertent store release.  A loss could occur either immediately upon failure or subsequently if the failure remained undetected.  We believe contractors normally identify SOF items as part of their production and quality process.

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Question:  Critical Safety Item (CSI) – What is the definition for CSI?

Answer:  Critical safety item (CSI) status is based on the actual designation of a particular  part by the Engineering Support Activity (ESA) and is defined by Public Law 108-136, Section 802, and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 209.270 as "a part, an assembly, installation equipment, launch equipment, recovery equipment, or support equipment for an aircraft or aviation weapon system if the part, assembly, or equipment contains a characteristic any failure, malfunction, or absence of which could cause-

  1. a catastrophic or critical failure resulting in the loss of or serious damage to the aircraft or weapon system;
  2. an unacceptable risk of personal injury or loss of life; or
  3. an uncommanded engine shutdown that jeopardizes safety."

Fracture critical and fatigue critical are called out for special emphasis, and are examples of specific characteristics that would cause an item to be considered CSI.  We believe contractors normally identify CSI as part of their production and quality process.

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Question: Approved Source and Qualified Product List (QPL) Items – What is the definition for these terms?
Answer:  Approved source and qualified product list (QPL) status are designations that can be found in a drawing or specification reflecting an advance approval of certain manufacturing sources, but can also reflect ESA or OEM determinations on the basis of prior performance or testing.  We believe contractors normally identify approved source and QPL items as part of their production and quality process.

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Question: Inventory Control Point (ICP) – What is the definition for ICP?
Answer:  For purposes of the DCMA request for information (RFI) data response, ICP should be considered to mean the delivery destination under the contract for the items in question, such as the CAGE for that destination.

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Question: Covered Parts and Components – Does the request for information apply to “all” titanium covered by the listed specifications?  Revised 12-10-09
Answer:  No.  The DCMA request applies to titanium parts or components that contain or were produced from rolled plate or forged bar titanium material, but only if that material is subject to one or more of the listed specifications.  Additionally, parts and components are excluded if the plate or bar material is:
    - Subsequently transformed into castings, die forgings, sheet, strip or extrusion;
    - Obtained as or subsequently transformed into the form of wire, ring, round bar or rod; or
    - Obtained in a thickness of 0.188 inches or less. 

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Question:  Responses Not Limited to WTI – Can data response be limited to Western Titanium Inc. (WTI) sourced items?
Answer:  No.  It is not reasonable to limit information to parts originating from only the companies indicted for product substitution – WTI and Mach 2 Metals Inc. (M2M).  In determining whether forged bar or rolled plate was sourced to those companies, DCMA believes that contractors will be able to determine the other actual sources with minimal additional effort.  While WTI and M2M are the only companies known to be currently indicted for the substitution of billet in place of conforming rolled plate and forged bar, it would be unacceptable for DCMA to initiate a new data call each time an additional suspect source is identified. 

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Question: DCMA Industry Forum – What is the status of this action?
Answer:  The industry forum remains under consideration.  While the forum might benefit the effort toward consistent data submissions, DCMA believes the greater benefit of this forum will be the resolution of known, discovered or suspected problems arising from substitution of billet for forged bar or rolled plate.  We believe the DCMA request for information (RFI) letters and a frequently asked question (FAQ) publication will sufficiently address the consistency of data submissions.

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Question: Negative Responses -- If the contractor finds it has No instances of suspect titanium parts delivered since 2002, will it suffice to send a negative response to the DCMA request for information (RFI) without filling out the spreadsheet?
Answer:  No, negative responses are appropriate when the contractor finds it delivers No parts or components containing or made from forged bar or rolled plate.  Instruction paragraph 1 of the base supply letter states:  "Identify all parts or components that ... contain or were produced from rolled plate or forged bar titanium material subject to any of the [listed] specifications ... and ... [t]he rolled plate or forged bar was not subsequently transformed into castings, die forgings, … [etc.]."    Instruction paragraph 2 provides the format for data relating to the parts identified in paragraph 1.

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Question: Identify All Suppliers – Must titanium from ALL sources be identified, or just that which can be traced to Western Titanium as a source?
Answer:  All sources of titanium forged bar or rolled plate must be identified for parts and components that fall within the Instruction paragraph 1 parameters. See base supply letter Instruction paragraph 2 which states:  "Identify for each part the raw material supplier and whether the supplier provided [nonconforming titanium]."

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Question: Additional Suspect Suppliers – Are there any criteria for identifying additional suspect raw material suppliers, or is this based on contractor determination?
Answer:  Identification of suspect suppliers would be based on the contractor's determination.  Instruction paragraph 4 of the base supply letter addresses identification of "suspect raw material suppliers in addition to WTI that your company discovered..."  It provides three examples of possible contractor discoveries or determinations of suspect supplier status:  Supplier Evaluation Reports, Corrective Action Requests, and Supplier Quality Audits. 
           
A robust subcontract and supplier management process requires more than mere reliance on lower tier certifications.  Suppliers fall into this suspect category if the contractor reasonably believes the suppliers provided titanium that did not comply with applicable specifications for forged bar or rolled plate.  Based on their indictment, Western Titanium Inc. and Mach 2 Metals Inc. are Suspect Suppliers and the conditional acceptance process must be followed if a justification exists for accepting items produced from or containing forged bar or rolled plate from either source.

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Question: Investigation of Suppliers – Are contractors expected to investigate every detail of a supplier’s performance back to January 1, 2002?
Answer:  No.  Contractors are expected to have a robust subcontract and supplier management process that includes more than mere reliance on lower tier certifications.  Instruction paragraph 3 addresses actions that companies should take in response to notices of nonconformance such as the 2004 GIDEP related to WTI and the current DCMA request for information (RFI).  Past and current efforts of this nature are sufficient for responding to the current RFI.

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Question: Subcontractors who are also Prime Contractors – Can subcontractor ABC elect to report items directly to DCMA in response to ABC’s separate RFI it received as a prime contractor, rather than report the items up to prime contractor XYZ in its subcontract relationship with XYZ?
Answer:  Yes. Where subcontractor ABC is already reporting items to DCMA in its capacity as a prime contractor and advises prime contractor XYZ that ABC would rather report directly to DCMA, prime contractor XYZ should include a note or spreadsheet entry indicating ABC’s direct reporting.

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12/11/2009 14:31:50