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Blunt Backs Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Technology Threats from China

January 29, 2019

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, cosponsored bipartisan legislation to help combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors like China. The legislation, which was introduced by Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (Va.) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.), would create an Office of Critical Technologies & Security at the White House responsible for coordinating across agencies and developing a long-term, whole-of-government strategy to protect against state-sponsored technology theft and risks to critical supply chains.

“It’s more important than ever for the federal government to have a comprehensive strategy to combat the increase in tech-related security threats from China and other nations,” said Blunt. “This bill is an important step to better protect our critical supply chains and push back against state-sponsored technology theft.”

China and other nations are currently attempting to achieve technological and economic superiority over the United States through the aggressive use of state-directed or -supported technology transfers. At the same time, the U.S. is also facing major challenges to the integrity of key supply chains as a result of reliance on foreign products that have been identified as national security risks. A national response to combat these threats and ensure our national security has, to date, been hampered by insufficient coordination at the federal level.

The Blunt-backed bill would guarantee that there is a federal entity responsible for proactively coordinating interagency efforts and developing a national strategy to deal with these challenges to our national security and long-term technological competitiveness. Under the bill, the Office of Critical Technologies & Security would be directed to coordinate and consult with federal and state tech and telecom regulators, the private sector, nongovernmental experts and academic stakeholders, and key international partners and U.S. allies to ensure that every available tool is being utilized to safeguard the supply chain and protect emerging, foundational and dual-use technologies. The Office would also be responsible for raising awareness of these threats and improving the overall education of the American public and business leaders in key sectors about the threats to U.S. national security posed by the improper acquisition and transfer of critical technologies by foreign countries and reliance on foreign products – such as those manufactured by Chinese telecom companies ZTE and Huawei – that jeopardize the overall security of private sector supply chains.

For a copy of the bill text, click here.

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