China's Continuing Threat
April 3, 2019
By: Lindsay Simmons
Pentagon leaders have been speaking out, increasingly, regarding the risks to U.S. military operations created if and when Chinese technology is used in any military related 5G wireless telecommunications networks. Specifically, officials (former and current) are warning that using Chinese firms (for example, Huawei) to outfit military networks creates a high risk ... indeed a probability ... of cyberattacks on military operations.
Calling for immediate action to address this threat, retired commanders of NATO and the U.S. European Command, the retired former head of the U.S. Pacific Command, and a former director of national intelligence, spoke forcibly on this topic yesterday at the opening of a NATO summit of foreign ministers in Washington, DC. The call is being issued not only here at home, but also to our allies around the world as they, like we, build these new networks.
Current Pentagon leaders also are issuing warnings regarding our struggle with China for “digital supremacy” and the need to counter China’s plans. In their view China, and particularly companies such as Huawei, pose a “broad, fundamental” threat to national security if permitted to build U.S. or allied nations’ networks.
One of the key problems is that currently no U.S. supplier provides end-to-end 5G network components. And, although U.S. telecom companies exclude Huawei and ZTE from their 5G systems (indeed U.S. law bars the federal government and its contractors from purchasing equipment made by Huawei and ZTE), Huawei remains the world’s largest telecom equipment provider and continues to push for entry into our allies’ markets and our rural markets.
What does this mean for federal contractors? Among other things it means that the light shining on your supply chain is brighter than ever. Make certain you understand your supply chains and assess any risks that may be posed in such chains.
Lindsay Simmons is responsible for the contents of this article
@ Jackson Kelly PLLC 2019