TR Daily Bill Would Create White House Office for Tech, Security
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Friday, January 4, 2019

Bill Would Create White House Office for Tech, Security

Legislation that would create an Office of Critical Technologies & Security at the White House to address supply chain security and coordinate the development of technology for national security purposes was introduced today by Sens. Mark Warner (D., Va.) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.).

Sen. Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Rubio, a member of the committee, specifically mentioned the alleged cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property by the Chinese government in their announcement of the bill’s introduction.

“It is clear that China is determined to use every tool in its arsenal to surpass the United States technologically and dominate us economically,” Sen. Warner said in a statement. “We need a whole-of-government technology strategy to protect U.S. competitiveness in emerging and dual-use technologies and address the Chinese threat by combating technology transfer from the United States.”

“China continues to conduct a coordinated assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses, and our government networks and information with the full backing of the Chinese Communist Party,” Sen. Rubio added. “The United States needs a more coordinated approach to directly counter this critical threat and ensure we better protect U.S. technology. We must continue to do everything possible to prevent foreign theft of our technology and interference in our networks and critical infrastructure.”

The Office of Critical Technologies & Security would be created in the Executive Office of the President “to coordinate and consult with federal and state tech and telecom regulators, the private sector, non-governmental 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,” they said.

“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,” they said.

The office would create and oversee a Council on Critical Technologies and Security “to advise the president on matters relating to challenges posed by foreign powers with respect to technology acquisition and transfer,” according to the bill.

The council’s membership would include the secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the directors of the Office of Management and Budget, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the chairmen of the FCC and Federal Trade Commission; and an assortment of other agency heads. —Tom Leithauser, [email protected]

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