Security and Compliance in Defense Electronic Manufacturing

Defense electronic manufacturing is a highly regulated industry with stringent security and compliance standards. When partnering with an electronic contract manufacturer (ECM), it is essential to verify that the ECM you choose will be able to meet those requirements. Selecting a domestic ECM is a good start, but there are other things to look for in the right partner. Understanding the industry’s unique challenges, having the proper certifications, having a network of vetted suppliers, and having an onsite team of engineers throughout the project are all essential to security and compliance in defense electronic manufacturing.

Engineers working on electronic machine while wearing helmets for safety.

Defense Electronic Manufacturing Has Unique Challenges

Defense electronic manufacturing has unique challenges, as technological advancements must be balanced with the need for longevity. The ability to continuously upgrade as technology advances isn’t always practical, and therefore, electronic contract manufacturers are working to offer custom services that can adapt new technology to existing equipment. This is a cost-effective way to keep defense equipment functional and advanced but requires an electronic contract manufacturer who understands the security and compliance requirements of working with existing defense equipment. A team of engineers who can retrofit new components can help meet these challenges head-on.

Understanding ITAR and NIST Certification

Before partnering with an ECM, ensure the facility you consider has the proper certifications for your project. Defense electronic manufacturing means finding a facility with NIST certification and ITAR registration. Similar standards are in place for both, but it is still important to verify that your facility meets both regulations and conducts regular internal and external reviews and audits.


NIST SP800-171 is a codification of any non-federal computer system’s requirements to store or process CUI (controlled unclassified information). These quality and safety standards ensure that all sensitive information is handled appropriately.


ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is a set of regulations from the State Department that controls the import and export of sensitive defense-related information and materials. All ITAR-related processes must be classified according to security, and any controlled information must be handled correctly.

Vetted Suppliers and Counterfeit Parts Mitigation

Counterfeit components are a concern in any industry, but counterfeit part mitigation is crucial to staying compliant when working in a highly regulated industry such as defense. Any electronic contract manufacturer working with the defense industry must have a plan in place for counterfeit component mitigation. Your ECM should have a plan for component shortages, regular testing, an inspection of all components to ensure their legitimacy and a vetted supply chain with trusted suppliers. The defense industry has particular requirements for suppliers. In the case of parts obsolescence or component shortages, an ECM with an on-site engineering team can be invaluable in assisting with redesigning, retrofitting, or reverse engineering to meet current needs.

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Partnering with a Domestic, Turnkey ECM

When budgets are a concern, it can be tempting to outsource electronic manufacturing overseas for a lower price. However, taking PCB design, production, and assembly overseas can be risky. Partnering with a domestic ECM will guarantee oversight, accountability, and security. Intellectual property theft is far less likely, counterfeit parts are less of a concern, communication barriers will be removed, and you can verify the certifications and registrations necessary for defense electronic contract manufacturing. When you partner with a turnkey facility with onsite engineers, the risks of errors or non-compliance are reduced even more.

Finding the Right ECM Partner

Even after choosing a domestic, turnkey facility with the proper certifications, you will still have many options for electronic contract manufacturing partners. Though there are many options, not every option will be the right fit. For a highly regulated industry such as defense electronics, finding an ECM with an excellent reputation is crucial. In addition, the partner you choose should,

  • Have a dedicated project manager with strong communication skills. 

Defense electronic manufacturing projects should be documented throughout the process to ensure they comply, and the project manager should keep you updated at every stage. Make sure that your project manager is responsive to your needs.

  • Have quality assurance procedures in place.

A quality ECM with experience in defense electronic manufacturing will have procedures in place to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality. Often, this means testing and prototyping throughout the project.

  • Have standards in place to protect your intellectual property.

Security and IP protection are essential in every industry but are even more critical in defense electronic manufacturing. Before partnering with an ECM, ensure you are on the same page regarding security.

Choosing the right ECM partner is critical to staying compliant when working in a highly regulated industry. A domestic ECM is an excellent place to start but then look at all the factors that can ensure your electronic manufacturing meets the standards and requirements of defense electronic manufacturing, such as quality assurance processes, IP protection, a network of vetted suppliers for counterfeit part mitigation, and the proper certifications, such as ITAR registration and NIST, before determining if the ECM is suitable for your project.

Why Partner with Levison Enterprises?

In defense electronic manufacturing, security and compliance are non-negotiable. At Levison Enterprises, we understand the intricate demands of this sector and stand ready to exceed your expectations. We tackle the unique challenges head-on, offering tailored solutions that seamlessly integrate new technology with existing equipment, ensuring advancement and longevity.

Rest assured, our facility boasts crucial NIST certification and ITAR registration, guaranteeing the utmost protection of sensitive information. Plus, your project remains safeguarded from compromise with our meticulously vetted network of suppliers and robust counterfeit part mitigation strategies.

By choosing Levison Enterprises, you opt for domestic excellence and accountability. Our turnkey solutions, backed by onsite engineering prowess, mitigate risks, ensure quality, and uphold compliance every step of the way.

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Your defense electronic manufacturing partner matters. Trust in Levison Enterprises for unparalleled expertise, unwavering commitment, and peace of mind in an ever-evolving landscape. Secure your success with Levison. Contact us today to elevate your defense manufacturing endeavors to new heights.