Dec 11 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Acting Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today applauded the inclusion of the Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bipartisan USA Telecommunications Act seeks to encourage and support U.S. innovation in the race for 5G by providing funds to support research and development in Western-based alternatives to Chinese equipment providers Huawei and ZTE.
“For too long we’ve called for our allies and trading partners to reject Huawei digital infrastructure – without providing competitively-priced, innovative alternatives that address their needs. I’m pleased to see my bipartisan, bicameral legislation included in this year’s defense funding bill,” said Sen. Warner. “I look forward to working with Senate appropriators next year to ensure that these programs – which advance major national security priorities – receive full funding in the coming year.”
“It is in our national security interests to support American competition in the 5G market and take action to counter efforts by Chinese state-directed telecommunications companies to dominate wireless technology supply chains,” Sen. Rubio said. “I was proud to secure this critical provision in the FY21 NDAA conference report that will support the development of an innovative 5G wireless network that leverages American strengths and creates American jobs in the industries of the future without relying on malign Chinese state-directed actors like Huawei and ZTE.”
The USA Telecommunications Act was introduced in January by Sens. Warner and Rubio along with Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and John Cornyn (R-TX). The legislation will reassert U.S. and Western leadership by encouraging competition with Huawei that capitalizes on U.S. software advantages, accelerating development of an open-architecture model (known as Open-RAN) that would allow for alternative vendors to enter the market for specific network components, rather than having to compete with Huawei end-to-end.
The USA Telecommunications Act is one of several of Sen. Warner’s national security priorities that were included in the final defense bill, among them the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act, which requires shell companies – often used as fronts for criminal activity – to disclose their true owners to the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, which will restore semiconductor manufacturing back to American soil by increasing federal incentives to stimulate advanced chip manufacturing.