The Trump administration recently released a security strategy for 5G wireless network technology. The United States needs to lead the development of 5G standards, assess its vulnerabilities to hacking, and address national security dangers posed by “high-risk” 5G vendors, according to a document, titled “National Strategy to Secure 5G.”
The strategy makes no mention of who the “high-risk” 5G vendors might be, but the field of candidates is so narrow as to make clear the target is Huawei.
Washington has stressed that the Chinese company—founded in 1987 by a former Peoples Liberation Army engineer—is an extension of the Chinese regime and that it assists Chinese intelligence. Huawei denies it.
The strategy refers to President Donald Trumps May 2019 executive order, which “establishes the authorities to prohibit certain transactions that involve information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary that pose an undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.”
To outmaneuver the Chinese regime in the 5G market, the United States will focus on leading the development of robust standards for 5G that would be quickly developed under “open and transparent processes.”
Regarding the hacking risks, the administration “will work with the private sector to identify, develop, and apply core security principles—best practices in cyber security, supply chain risk management, and public safety—to United States 5G infrastructure,” the strategy document says (pdf).
In addition, the United States will work to promote “vendor diversity,” the document says, including by the use of “incentives” and “accountability mechanisms.”
The diversity likely applies to the promotion of Huawei competitors. The two likely candidates would be Erricsson and Nokia, both advanced players in the 5G field and both floated before as companies that could be propped up to undercut Huawei.