Senators Blackburn, Cornyn Introduce SUPPLY CHAIN Act

May 14, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Sharing Urgent, Potentially Problematic Locations that Yield Communications Hazards in American Internet Networks (SUPPLY CHAIN) Act. The legislation directs the Secretary of Commerce to coordinate with the heads of appropriate federal entities and conduct ongoing reviews of the information and communications technology marketplace and its supply chain.

“The U.S. is fighting to win the race to 5G,” Senator Blackburn said. “It is essential that we not allow foreign adversaries access to our systems. It is equally important we stop adversaries from exploiting the global marketplace to run trusted suppliers out of business. Information is power, and 5G holds the promise to revolutionize American competitiveness across virtually every industry. Let’s be sure we’re prioritizing national security in the process.”

“Our foreign adversaries are looking to exploit gaps in our communications infrastructure and gain a competitive edge,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would help strengthen the integrity of complex supply chains as we continue to deploy revolutionary 5G wireless technologies.” 

The SUPPLY CHAIN Act requires long-term scenario and strategic planning between the government and the private sector to: assess the severity of risks to the marketplace; identify counterfeit ICT equipment; assess the ability of foreign entities to exploit the marketplace in manner that raises risks;  identify emerging long-term trends that threaten the ICT marketplace; develop strategies to mitigate risks to the ICT marketplace; and analyze strategic opportunities for asymmetric advantage.

The U.S. is in a long-term strategic technological competition with foreign competitors, and it is crucial we have an all-of-government approach to secure victory and ensure continued U.S. leadership in emerging technologies like 5G. The U.S. Department of Commerce is a market-facing government agency and is especially well suited to lead a collaborative effort with the private sector – in coordination with other appropriate federal entities – to explore long-term trends and scenarios to inform national strategies regarding technology. This bill is complementary to existing programs and efforts; it seeks to leverage the distinct competencies of the Department of Commerce to win the global race to 5G.