Protecting the Fruits of our Labor from China.

AuthorCarlisle, Hawk

* For decades, the National Defense Industrial Association and its members have worked hard to ensure U.S. and allied war-fighters enjoy decisive advantage across the spectrum of conflict. American innovation is at the heart of delivering this advantage.

These innovations, however, are increasingly under threat as China systematically steals our intellectual property. With the advent of 5G technology, they are preparing to conduct their theft on a previously unimaginable scale, leading U.S. decision-makers to develop and implement bipartisan policies to counter these aggressive, illegal actions.

Despite high levels of partisanship in Washington, the Chinese threat to American IP is one area where the administration and Congress agree and are acting to defend our national security. These actions, however, could dramatically impact the health and size of the defense industrial base.

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is one of the administration's most public efforts to thwart the loss of IP to China and Chinese companies. The Pentagon released CMMC v1.0 in January. It contains requirements to enhance cyber fortifications across the defense contracting community by rolling out "pass/fail" standards impacting the industrial base from primes down to the smallest subcontractor.

Starting in October, beginning with select high-impact contracts with cutting edge technology, prime and subcontracting companies lacking CMMC certification at the level defined by the contract will be ineligible to compete. By 2026, all Defense Department contracts will contain CMMC requirements.

NDIA will continue to work closely with the department, the CMMC accreditation body and our members to ensure a smooth rollout of this critical emerging requirement.

Less discussed but likely more impactful are Congressional actions to directly mitigate China's threat. In the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress took the dramatic step of banning government procurement of products from Chinese companies Huawei, ZTE and their affiliates. Congress has seen evidence these two telecommunication companies--and clearly many more--operate as extensions of the Chinese Communist Party, allowing the nation to spy on communications and collect data stored on networks containing Huawei and ZTE components. Congressional concern recently intensified when representatives learned Huawei can also covertly access mobile networks through back doors meant for law...

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