Press Release

#SubCommTech Discusses Telecom Supply Chain Threats and Opportunities


 WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), held a hearing today examining the telecommunications supply chain, global competitiveness, and national security.

“In today’s world, where information literally travels at the speed of light, and new innovations are brought to market at a dizzying pace, it is critically important to leverage robust information sharing about threats and vulnerabilities,“ said Chairman Blackburn. “This should include greater information sharing about the supply chain of hardware and software that make up our communications networks.”

Chairman Blackburn poses questions to the witnesses

Full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) stated in his opening remarks, “Before committees in Congress, and different federal agencies, launch solutions to this complex challenge without proper coordination and investigation, I argue that we take a more thorough approach.”

#SubCommTech Vice Chairman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) underscored the importance of securing U.S. networks, commenting, “Just yesterday, the nominee to head the National Counterintelligence and Security Center testified that Chinese Intelligence uses Chinese firms, such as ZTE, as a resource and he would never use a ZTE phone. I am concerned about the national security implications of lessening the punishments against ZTE in a trade deal with China.”

In responding to a question from #SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH), Dr. Charles Clancy, Director and Professor, Hume Center for National Security and Technology, Virginia Tech, discussed supply chain risk management.

Dr. Clancy told the subcommittee, “Any determined adversary, with enough time and resources, is going to be able to penetrate a target network. You need to be able to identify what the most sensitive parts of your network are, be able to fortify those as much as possible against those risks, whether it be a supply chain risk or an active cyberattack risk.”

Witnesses look on as members deliver opening remarks

Ms. Samm Sacks, Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, testified regarding the challenges posed by China’s emergence as a technological global power.

“The challenge is that U.S. and Chinese technology development, supply chains, and commercial markets are tightly intertwined. A unilateral approach that isolates the United States will undermine U.S. economic prosperity, our technological leadership, and capacity for innovation. In confronting China, we must have a clear understanding about the consequences of our actions, and where there will be costs to ourselves,” she said.

Mr. Clete Johnson, Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, spoke to the role of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in mitigating threats to the supply chain and infrastructure.

“Perhaps the most important of recent actions is the FCC proposal to prevent government funds from purchasing technology or services from companies that pose a national security threat to the U.S. communications infrastructure. This will advance the policy discourse on these difficult issues and can be a lever to move the whole government, and the market, in the right direction,” he told #SubCommTech.

The Majority Memorandum, witness testimony, and an archived webcast are available online HERE.

Press Release