On November 19th, 2018, the Commerce Department announced it was considering new export controls on advanced technology. The proposed list was a litany that included artificial Intelligence, semi-conductors and swarming drones. While not mentioned by name, the target of the restrictions was China, who has made a concerted effort to develop or steal these technologies around the world.
Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last month that his department would be standing up a new task force to make recommendations about securing the defense industrial base from cyber attack. This comes after a Chinese company was charged with attempting to steal trade secrets from a leading U.S. chip manufacturer.
The recent revelation that China’s security services had successfully compromised the servers of thousands of leading tech' firms cloud computing platforms has sent shockwaves through the tech world. The hardware hack may have compromised some of the most sensitive computer systems used by the military and intelligence services. While the scope and sophistication of the operations were alarming, it was no surprise to some in national security circles.
While critics might scoff at the notion of social media as a vital national security issue, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, is chock full of sobering reminders that what happens online doesn’t always stay there.
This month, Congress is debating the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act. One of the most difficult defense issues on the table has nothing to do with new weapons systems, force structure or personnel. The bill includes a plan for changing the interagency process for vetting foreign investment and reforms to the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS reviews and can stop foreign investment in what are deemed to be critical industries to national security. CFIUS has come under increasing scrutiny as China has invested heavily in the U.S. tech sector and many fear are attempting to buy or steal the crown jewels of U.S. technology.