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Spanberger Leads Introduction of Bipartisan Bill to Build National 5G Strategy, Protect U.S. Telecommunications Infrastructure from National Security Threats

According to a 2018 NATO Report, Huawei’s Growing Role as a Supplier of 5G Could Be Exploited by China to Commit Espionage, Monitor Foreign Corporations and Governments, & Support Chinese Military Operations

**VIDEO: On CBS News, Spanberger Announces Introduction of “Secure 5G and Beyond Act”**

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today led the introduction of a bipartisan bill to protect next-generation telecommunications systems and mobile infrastructure in the United States. Spanberger introduced the legislation alongside U.S. Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-IN-05), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), Francis Rooney (R-FL-19), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21).

According to a 2018 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) report, Huawei’s growing influence as a leading supplier of 5G technology could be exploited by China to engage in espionage, monitor foreign corporations and governments, and support Chinese military operations. To combat the potential cyber threats associated with a Huawei 5G monopoly, the report recommends that non-Chinese companies invest in 5G research and development—and it calls on U.S. and European companies to reconsider the integration of Huawei technology into their 5G infrastructure.

The Spanberger-led Secure 5G and Beyond Act would require the administration to develop an unclassified, national strategy to protect U.S. consumers and assist allies in maximizing the security of their 5G telecommunications systems. The strategy would also identify additional ways to spur research and development by U.S. companies in a way that maintains access for all Americans.

“The United States has long been responsible for the groundbreaking achievements of the digital age. However, the growing prominence of 5G telecommunications systems in China and abroad, particularly through Huawei, should concern all Americans,” said Spanberger. “To protect our national security and maintain our economic strength, we must build a nationwide gameplan to strengthen our mobile networks and protect the privacy of American families. Today, I’m proud to lead the introduction of a bipartisan bill to require a smart strategy, because safeguarding Americans’ access to the next generation of telecommunications should never be a partisan issue. As we work to achieve faster internet speeds and wider connectivity, our legislation would make sure we have a plan to deliver innovative technology to U.S. consumers, compete with China, and prevent foreign influence in 5G networks.”

“The next generation of mobile telecommunications, 5G, holds tremendous potential to revolutionize the way we communicate and work with one another. As the co-founder and co-chair of the 5G Caucus, I understand how important it is for our laws to support this kind of innovation. But with such innovation and technological advancements, the federal government must ensure our national security by protecting Hoosiers and Americans across the country from potential cyber threats,” said Brooks. “The Secure 5G and Beyond Act is a bipartisan bill working to protect next-generation telecommunications systems and mobile infrastructure in the United States from dangerous foreign actors while continuing to allow the internet to transform the way we live for the better.”

“The next generation of telecommunication systems is going to revolutionize our economy, and it is important that every corner of our country has access to the latest technology, especially rural America,” said O’Halleran. “With the rapid expansion of new technological infrastructure, it is critical that these systems be secure and the privacy of Americans be protected. I am proud to join my colleagues today to introduce this important bill to address the risks associated with the deployment of new technology and ensure we remain a world leader in technology.”

“The United States needs to be proactive in preventing any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by our adversaries. In our increasingly interconnected world, that means protecting our telecommunications and infrastructure, and those of our allies, from malign foreign interference,” said Rooney. “I am proud to cosponsor the Secure 5G and Beyond Act to ensure the safety, security, and freedom of the United States and to safeguard our technology infrastructure.”

“Our economic competitiveness and our national security depend on a clear-eyed approach to China's influence in the 5G space,” said Slotkin. “I'm proud to support this bipartisan bill that requires an inter-agency strategy to mitigate this threat, protect U.S. companies and consumers, and prevent foreign influence in future telecommunications systems.”

“Ensuring the United States remains a leading global competitor in both the economy and technology is critical to the future of our nation,” said Stefanik. “This bipartisan legislation requires the President to implement a strategy to secure 5G telecommunications systems and infrastructure in our country and maximize the security of these systems. I’m proud to co-lead this effort to protect the competitiveness of American companies, as well as the privacy and security of American consumers.”

Specifically, the bipartisan Secure 5G and Beyond Act would require the administration to build an interagency strategy to:

  • Secure 5th generation and future-generation telecommunications systems and infrastructure across the United States;
  • Assist U.S. allies and defense partners in maximizing the security of 5G systems and infrastructure in their countries; and
  • Protect the competitiveness of U.S. companies, the privacy of U.S. consumers, and the integrity of international standards-setting bodies against foreign political influence.

The Secure 5G and Beyond Act is companion legislation to a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Richard Burr (R-NC).

Click here to read the full bill text.

BACKGROUND

The 2018 report from the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence warned that integration of Huawei as a 5G provider could create long-term negative consequences.

Currently, the Chinese government’s Made in China 2025 plan calls 5G a “strategic emerging industry.” Already, Chinese tech companies own 36 percent of all 5G standard-essential patents, whereas U.S.-based companies only possess 14 percent of critical 5G patents. Earlier this year, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford called the potential risks of a Chinese-built 5G network “a critical national security issue” for the United States.

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