Bipartisan Senators Want Feds to Disclose More Info On Supply Chain Threats

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A bipartisan group of senators is calling for all branches of government to share information on threats to technology supply chains, citing potential risks to national security. Supply chain security is an issue that both the Trump administration and Congress have focused more attention on recently, particularly concerning alleged national security threats from Chinese telecommunications group Huawei and its rollout of 5G networks worldwide.

In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, top members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee called for the Federal Acquisition Security Council (FASC) to come up with an action plan. The intelligence community shares information on threats to the information technology supply chain with civilian agencies through the FASC. Senators want that threat information made available to other branches of government, reports The Hill.  

“Both Congress and the Executive branch have devoted considerable time identifying ways to enhance the supply chain security of information and communications technology on U.S. government systems,” the senators wrote. “The work is vitally important, but executive agency solutions do not always mean whole of government solutions.” The letter was signed by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI), Gary Peters (MI), the top Democrat on the panel, Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The council is tasked with creating a “strategic plan” to address supply chain risks. “Neither Congress nor the judiciary has the resources, expertise, or mission to replicate the intelligence community’s [supply chain risk management] work, meaning that the comprehensive ‘whole of government’ approach the FASC was intended to achieve will likely only benefit one branch of the federal government,” the senators wrote. The senators gave Mulvaney, who is also Acting White House Chief of Staff, until October 23, to respond with a detailed plan as to how the FASC will implement a new plan for sharing threats.

The Commerce Department earlier this year added Huawei to its “entity list.” U.S. companies are prohibited from doing business with companies on the list. The Commerce Department has since pushed back Huawei’s addition to the list until November 19, to give U.S. companies more time to prepare, according to The Hill.

October 14, 2019

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