U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “5G Supply Chain Security: Threats and Solutions,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The hearing will examine the security and integrity of the telecommunications supply chain and efforts to secure networks from exploitation in the transition to 5G. The hearing will also examine the federal government’s role in mitigating risks to telecommunications equipment and services in the U.S. and abroad.
- Mr. Steven Berry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Competitive Carriers Association
- Mr. Jason Boswell, Head of Security, Network Product Solutions, Ericsson
- Ms. Asha Keddy, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, Next Generation and Standards, Intel Corporation
- Mr. Mike Murphy, Chief Technology Officer, Americas at Nokia
- Dr. James Lewis, Senior Vice President and Director of the Technology Policy Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
*Witness list subject to change
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
This hearing will take place in the Russell Senate Office Building 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
*Note: Witness list updated 3/2/2020
Chairman Roger Wicker
Closing the digital divide and positioning the United States to win the global race to 5G are priorities for this committee. Over the past several months, we have been discussing the wide-ranging economic and social benefits that broadband connectivity has delivered to communities across this country.
We have also discussed the promise of 5G networks to build upon these past advancements and create new opportunities. Our continued ability to connect all Americans and provide access to next-generation technology will depend in large part on the security of the nation’s communications infrastructure.
Over the past few years, the United States Government, intelligence officials, and international allies have determined that telecommunications equipment from certain vendors, such as Huawei and ZTE, poses a national security risk. Foreign adversaries and enemies of the United States have the capability of using this compromised equipment to spy on Americans, steal our intellectual property, or otherwise disrupt our way of life and economic well-being.
To date, both Congress and the Trump Administration have taken a number of actions to address these security threats and protect our networks and devices from hostile exploitation. These actions include banning the use of Huawei and ZTE components in government systems; prohibiting the use of Universal Service Funds to purchase communications equipment and services from Huawei and ZTE, and other high-risk suppliers; and adding Huawei and its affiliates to the Entity List.
Most recently, Congress passed the “Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act”. When signed into law by President Trump in just a few days, this law establishes a critical “rip and replace” program for small and rural telecommunications operators to remove compromised equipment from their networks and replace it with components from trusted suppliers.
While this is a meaningful step forward in safeguarding the security of the nation’s communications systems, the unfortunate reality is that our networks have already been compromised by foreign adversaries.
We are seeing more reports that Huawei can covertly access mobile phone networks around the world. At the same time, some of our close allies are granting Huawei access to their communications systems.
These are troubling developments. We need to do more to shore up our own network defenses against hackers and state-sponsored actors, especially in our nation’s rural and underserved communities. This effort will require the development of a comprehensive strategy to secure the telecommunications supply chain.
Currently, Huawei maintains the largest global market share of telecommunications equipment. The absence of a viable and affordable American or European alternative for end-to-end telecommunications components, including radios, chips, software, and devices, has enabled Huawei to increase its global influence.
At a time of rising global demand for 5G equipment, I hope witnesses will discuss what more Congress and the Administration can do to support trusted suppliers, invest in new technologies, and expand the domestic market for 5G network components.
There are a number of international standards-setting organizations, such as the Third Generation Partnership Project or 3-G-P-P, and the International Telecommunications Union, that are developing technical standards for 5G. U.S. participation in these organizations is also key to a secure telecommunications supply chain. Today’s hearing is an opportunity for witnesses to discuss how to increase U.S. engagement in the standards development process. This will help ensure American technical expertise and priorities are considered in the development of next-generation technologies.
Finally, I hope we will learn about how the telecommunications industry can improve its “cyber hygiene”- meaning what best practices companies could adopt to mitigate risks to vulnerable supply chains. I also hope we will learn about what more the FCC can do to secure legacy networks and manage security risks in the transition to 5G.
Ranking Member Maria Cantwell
CANTWELL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this important hearing. I, too, want to thank Senator Blunt for his work in getting us back into our normal hearing room. Today’s hearing, obviously we have a lot of great witnesses here and thank you for traveling to be here. We’ve heard a lot about 5g networks and how it’s going to revolutionize everything, from sectors of our economy to advancements, but none of this will happen unless we make this system secure.
Yesterday, we had a hearing as part of our review of the budget for energy, and we were focusing on our nation’s grid and the fact that just recently, an attack on our grid in the West was the first time an actor had actually brought down a power system for more than 12 hours. So it’s no longer just people searching around and looking at our power plants. Now actors are starting to bring what is essential services to a halt, and these are important issues for us to address throughout our system.
So far, the discussion by policy makers about how to keep unsecure networks and equipment out of our domestic networks has been the focal point, but obviously eliminating the threat posed by these equipment is the highest priority. We can’t just simply look at that issue—we need to make sure that we are a loud voice across the globe for no government back doors to any security network. By mitigating this, we are helping to communicate what needs to be done. I believe it’s an imperative that the U.S. and its allies foster a truly secure, diverse, and reliable supply chain for communications equipment. We need to ensure the communications systems are secure, and that the connections to those systems and software are also secure. To accomplish this, first and foremost, we need a broader strategic plan, and I know that recently our bill that we passed out by our colleague Senator Cornyn in July was about getting the President to send to Congress a much needed strategy on 5G, and hopefully we’ll see more details on that soon.
But we must also build a forceful global coalition of countries to share our values and respect property rights and the rule of law, and we need a smart, multi-national approach to this. And so I hope that Mr. Chairman will continue to work with our colleagues on the Intel Committee and on the Foreign Affairs Committee to make sure that this is also being accomplished. We must create incentives for other countries to use communication equipment that does not contain a government back door access, and the United States should have a great source of allies to work with us on these issues.
So, again, appreciate this hearing this morning. I think it’s important to continue to clarify U.S. leadership on this issue and how we move ahead, and I appreciate the fact that we have so many great witnesses to talk about what these immediate next steps are in the legislation that has gone to the President’s desk. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Steven BerryPresident and Chief Executive OfficerCompetitive Carriers Association
Mr. Jason BoswellHead of SecurityNetwork Product Solutions, Ericsson
Ms. Asha KeddyCorporate Vice President and General ManagerNext Generation and Standards, Intel Corporation
Mr. Mike MurphyChief Technology OfficerAmericas at Nokia
Dr. James LewisSenior Vice President and Director of the Technology Policy ProgramCenter for Strategic and International Studies