Complexities of 5G and National Security
by Renee Parsons
In case you missed the kickoff, there is an unprecedented ‘must win’ wireless race for the US to cross the 5G finish line before China as alluded to during the recent Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing on the Federal Commerce Commission.
The details were thin with no real discussion on the need for 5G or its complexities including the national security implications of China beating out the USA! USA! or any mention of its dangerous, toxic health consequences or the true implications on the Massive Internet of Things (MIOT) decoded as the Dastardly Dark Utopian Vision of Future Illusion which promises a generation of trans-humans. One already occurring aspect of the MIOT is when the overlap between government and the unelected tech giants becomes indistinguishable, representative democracy becomes passe.
During remarks at the White House in April (with Ivanka present to make her own comments), President Donald Trump said “Winning the race to be the world’s leading provider of 5G cellular and communication networks; we want to be the leader in this. We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future. We just can’t let that happen. It is a race America must win.”
At stake, is at least a decade of global technological, economic and military dominance that would create three million new jobs, $500 billion in GDP and $275 billion in private sector investment. With over 300 million consumers, the US became the world’s tech and innovation hub as a result of its 4G global leadership. Adding $100 billion to the GDP with wireless jobs that grew at 84% and a $950 billion app economy, the US became the world’s strongest wireless economy and world leader in mobile broadband.
As a result of its leadership, today’s largest tech stocks continue to drive the US economy with a technical expertise that spawned the US-based mega tech companies (Google/Amazon/MS/FB/Twitter/MS). Many of those American-made companies have taken thousands of skilled jobs and lucrative contracts outside the US which is, after all, what the globalist agenda is all about. As 5G looms in an increasingly competitive global market, US dominance to sustain its competitive advantage is being put to the test.
National Security Council on 5G
Sometime in late 2017, the National Security Council briefed the Trump Administration on its recommendations for a comprehensive “Eisenhower National Highway System for the Information Age,” That system would include one centralized block network to be ‘built and run’ as a ‘nationalized’ government project with completion in three years in order to prevail against China. The document concluded with “The best network from a technical, performance and security perspective will be single block, USG secured, and have the highest probability for project success.”
The White House denied nationalization as an option, pointing out that the NSC is one of many federal agencies which will weigh in on 5G. At his April press briefing, Trump put the idea to rest with “And, as you probably heard, we had another alternative of doing it; that would be through government investment…. we don’t want to do that because it won’t be nearly as good, nearly as fast.”
Nevertheless, the document provides the NSC’s national security perspective on 5G and insights on other decisions yet to be made. Citing “cyber emergency we face on a daily basis” with a focus on ‘nefarious actors’ of ‘malicious intent,’ the NSC consistently warned that:
* “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure”
* “Fact: China is currently poised to lead the global deployment of 5G.”
* “Huawei more than doubled its market share in an 18 month period and in several areas or routing, it has caught or surpassed market leader Cisco.”
* “Notably the FBI continues to monitor market activity and risks associated with Huawei and ZTE.…permanently tasking the FBI to work with other intelligence agencies to monitor and regularly report to Congress and the Administration on the market activities and risks of Chinese infrastructure vendors would be valuable for national security.”
Part of the NSC document included excerpts from a September 15, 2018 memo from former Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis with the following:
* “China has assembled the basic components required for winning the AI arms race.”
* “China has already catapulted into the lead for facial recognition to support its authoritarian regime.”
The CRS further identified China as “the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain” in its June 12th “National Security Implications,” pointing out that China is “…likely to deploy the world’s first 5G wide-area network” and that “Huawei has signed contracts for 5G infrastructure in over thirty countries including US allies.”
Since China’s National Intelligence Law requires that “any organization and citizen shall support, provide assistance, and cooperate in national intelligence work, and guard the secrecy of any national intelligence work that they are aware of” and as the Chinese government “extended a $100 billion line of credit to Huawei to finance deals abroad,” some analysts believe the implications of a government – corporate collaboration is the installation of backdoors and increased surveillance – as if the US is squeaky clean on its collaborations with Google and Amazon or organizing a cyber weapon attack like Stuxnet.
Standardized Cell Siting
The NSC asked the question “Can we standardize siting requirements? USG or Industry”
in recognition that each municipality across the country has different requirements and fees for siting small wireless facilities as required by 5G. The NSC went on to suggest “use national security to force nationwide standardization of siting requirements” and that the “bottom line is that a three year deployment time is not achievable without a nationwide standard for siting.”
Since the telecom companies are entirely too cozy with the FCC, a national security declaration is unnecessary to achieve a de facto nationwide standard for siting approvals. In September, 2018, the FCC obtained a Declaratory Judgment to Remove Regulatory Barriers for Deployment of Wireless Infrastructure for 5G Connectivity which will provide a ‘fast track’ to circumvent local delays to cell deployment. In response, cities across the US are opposing the FCC’s attempt to override local control decision-making regarding the installation of 5G wireless infrastructure.
In the words of FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr
“The FCC is working to get government out of the way so the private sector can start building hundreds of thousands of cells needed for 5G. We excluded small cell from costly review procedures designed for 100 ft assigned towers. That decision cost $1.5 billion in red tape. FCC took another step in streamlining the local permitting process. That decision cut another $2 billion in red tape and will stimulate $2.4 billion in small cell deployments, 97% of which will be in rural and suburban communities.”
In addition, the Streamline Small Cell Deployment Act S.1699 was introduced on June 3 to ‘streamline’ the siting process for small cell deployment in rural and suburban areas. It has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee for a hearing.
US Telecom Manufacturing
Thanks to the 1995 NAFTA vote which began the redistribution of millions of skilled American jobs overseas and the extraordinary growth of American telecoms relocating jobs abroad, the NSC confirmed that
“Fact: US telecommunication manufacturers have all but disappeared” and that “Today only a handful of companies are postured to play a role in global 5G deployment” followed by the facile assurance that “Equipment manufacturers have expressed a willingness to move manufacturing facilities to the US in support of 5G.”
In addressing the issue of protecting national security from a tainted foreign supply chain, Mattis suggested “Added assurance can be gained by ensuring that we create an IT and telecommunications manufacturing base. By securing the supply chain, we can be assured that our network is built with safe components.”
The unavoidable question is that since a ‘safe and secure’ supply chain is of national security importance and that Chinese manufactured components could not be trusted and that American manufacturers would be the most reliable purveyor of the necessary 5G components, how exactly will the US rely on ‘safe and secure’ components in the absence of its own manufacturing base?
On May 15th, President Trump signed an Executive Order declaring a ‘national emergency’ that
“foreign adversaries are increasingly exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services, in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage.”
The Order bans American telecom firms and US allies from selling US-made components to foreign telecoms while creating a banned “Entity List’ which will require a USG license for foreign telecoms in order to do business with US tech companies. The Order, which has broad bi-partisan support, did not address existing security risks of foreign made components currently embedded in US equipment while many rural carriers already rely on Chinese made equipment. According to the Order, the US would stop sharing intel with allies who persist in using Chinese equipment, fearing intercepted messages or sabotage.
Within days of signing the EO, Intel, Qualcomm and other US tech companies announced that they would cut off critical software and components to Huawei while Google, which has AI research centers built inside China’s information sphere, has suspended its ties to Huawei and dropped its technical support for Android. As the US telecom industry comply with the Order that “any Chinese equipment in the network could pose potential security concerns,” some US tech allies suspended their dealings with Huawei while some American chipmakers found ways around the ban by dropping the US-made label.
In addition, the Senate Commerce Committee introduced the “US 5G Leadership Act” which will fund $700,000 for removal of all Huawei or ZTE equipment or services from the US existing network in order to secure the 5G deployment.
While at the recent G20 Summit in Osaka, Trump reached a tentative trade deal with President Xi Jinping (with Ivanka at the conference table) unexpectedly reversing his position that US firms be allowed to sell to Huawei where there are no national security issues but leaving final resolution with Huawei to the end of negotiations.
In response, the Department of Commerce, which maintains the Entity List, has suggested it plans to continue Huawei’s ‘presumption of denial’ as it applies to a request for a business license. The thorny question remains how the US protects its national security with the use of out-sourced foreign suppliers or well meaning allies whose own security may have already been compromised.
To be continued….
Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31