Congressional Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Securing U.S. Communications Networks

Feb. 16, 2024
The hearing considered five pieces of legislation, including one scrutinizing the development of 6G and others focused on foreign adversaries.

In the United States Congress, the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on February 15 titled “Securing American Communications Networks from Foreign Adversaries.” The subcommittee is chaired by Bob Latta of Ohio; the larger committee is chaired by Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. Both are Republicans.

Leading up to the February 15 hearing, the chairs jointly released a statement saying, “Our communications networks are an integral part of our lives, businesses, economy, and national security. As we’ve grown increasingly connected and more reliant on technology, these networks have become a target for adversaries an bad actors. To remain competitive and secure, the U.S. must ensure our communications and technological infrastructure is protected against adversaries, in particular the Chinese Communist Party. We look forward to discussing legislative solutions that will safeguard and cement America’s leadership in this area for generations to come.”

In his remarks to open the hearing, Latta said, “Every minute, China is attempting to infiltrate communication networks across the globe in its quest for global economic dominance. Whether it be unauthorized access to sensitive data, manipulating our networks or attempting to disrupt critical infrastructure, the Chinese Communist Party does not play by the rules.

“In an effort to combat this foreign influence, this committee has worked on a bipartisan basis to secure our domestic communications networks from foreign threats.”

He then cited the Secure and Trusted Communications Act, passed in 2020, and the Secure Equipment Act passed in the last Congressional session.

The February 15 meeting discussed five new legislative proposals that Latta said “will help promote U.S. innovation and ensure the U.S. continues to lead the world in combatting Chinese tech influence.”

Latta’s opening statement introduced those five proposals, which he named and described as follows.

  • H.R. 2864, which would add the company DJI Technologies to what is known as the FCC’s covered list
  • H.R. 820, the Foreign Adversary Communications Transparency Act, “which would require the FCC to annually publish a list of entities that hold a license granted by the FCC and are owned by China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, or Venezuela.”
  • H.R. 1513, the FUTURE Networks Act, a bipartisan proposal that “would require the FCC to establish a 6G Task Force to develop a report on the standards development process and possible uses of sixth-generation technology,” according to Latta.
  • “The two other discussion drafts … would require the assistant secretary for communications and information to study whether certain routers, modems, and drones produced by companies with ties to our adversaries pose an unacceptable risk to our national security, as well as technologies that could increase the redundancy and resiliency of Taiwan’s communications networks,” Latta said.

You can view the approximately 2.5-hour hearing below.

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