Doyle Opening Remarks at Legislative Hearing on Promoting Resilient Wireless Supply Chains and Securing Our Networks
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) delivered the following opening remarks today at a Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing titled, “A Safe Wireless Future: Securing our Networks and Supply Chains:”
Thank you all for coming, and thank you to our witnesses, some of whom are here in person and some of whom are here on our screens, just as some of our members are. This is a hybrid hearing, and, in a way, it highlights the promise of new technologies to our country itself, even as we resume many in-person activities.
Advances in technology have brought us to this place and allowed all of us to continue life as normally as possible over the past year plus. The pandemic made online work, education, civil engagement, and social interaction a norm and a requirement for large parts of our society.
Our telecommunications networks, and the supply chains that feed those networks, answered the increased demand and kept our nation connected. While the pandemic is not yet over, it is clear that the need and demand for connectivity will just keep growing.
The bipartisan work of this committee has laid the foundation for the nation’s telecommunications networks to flourish. And to ensure that this continues, we look to foster innovation and competition, protect our networks and supply chains from threats by non-trusted actors, and provide the marketplace with a predictable, stable government—a government that is a partner as well as a regulator.
So let’s get to it. There are nine bills before us, a herculean effort and nearly all of them are bipartisan. We can think of them as loosely falling into three categories. Three could be considered bills to keep the public, smaller providers, and small businesses educated about how to protect their telecommunications networks and supply chains, and to provide support to them as they navigate the changing network and supply chain marketplaces. These are the “Understanding Cybersecurity of Mobile Networks Act,” the “Open RAN Outreach Act,” and the “American Cybersecurity Literacy Act.”
The second group are bills that will lock in supportive government entities to ensure that our networks and supply chains remain safe. These are the “Communications Security Advisory Act of 2021” and “the “NTIA Policy and Cybersecurity Coordination Act,” among others.
Finally, the third set of bills will facilitate U.S. leadership with regard to what technologies come next and how we leverage them to improve the lives of Americans in all corners of our nation. These are the “Secure Equipment Act of 2021,” the “Information and Communication Technology Strategy Act”, and the “FUTURE Networks Act.”
There’s a lot packed into these proposals, and no doubt, we will need to make changes to improve and clarify each of them, but I look forward to doing that with my friends and colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
Let me take a moment to discuss the FUTURE Networks Act, which is a bill that I introduced, along with my friends, Representatives McBath and Johnson. The FUTURE Networks Act would require the Federal Communications Commission to create a 6G Task Force, with members appointed by the Chair, and comprising representatives from trusted companies, public interest groups, and government representatives at every level of government, including tribes. The mandate of the task force would be to report on the possible uses, strengths, and limitations of sixth-generation (6G) wireless technology, including any supply chain, cybersecurity, or other limitations that will need to be addressed as the wireless technology evolves.
Convening a broad group of key stakeholders in the early stages of 6G development will ensure continued U.S. leadership in the global economy. Congress can accelerate our success as a nation by opening the door to new ideas and inventions, and by fostering healthy competition here at home.
Our job in this Committee is to examine, nurture, and encourage those advances in technology and ensure they are brought to bear in a manner that makes our lives better. And today’s subcommittee hearing, I believe, will help us do just that.