Amidst rising trade tensions between the United States and China, the Defense Authorization Act has been signed into law. The bill prohibits the use of telecommunication equipment or devices manufactured by ZTE or Huawei and a few other Chinese OEMs.
The act is not solely put in place for prohibiting the use of ZTE or Huawei equipment. It is put in place “To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2019 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.”
Section 889 of the act deals with “Prohibition on Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment”. Following is an excerpt from the section:
(a) Prohibition On Use Or Procurement. – (1) The head of an executive agency may not—
(A) procure or obtain or extend or renew a contract to procure or obtain any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system; or
(B) enter into a contract (or extend or renew a contract) with an entity that uses any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.
“Covered Telecommunications Equipment or Services” is defined as:
(A) Telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).
(B) For the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).
(C) Telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by such entities or using such equipment.
(D) Telecommunications or video surveillance equipment or services produced or provided by an entity that the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director of the National Intelligence or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reasonably believes to be an entity owned or controlled by, or otherwise connected to, the government of a covered foreign country.
In this case, “Covered Foreign Country” is defined as the People’s Republic of China.
Due to this law, many contractors or workers working with the Government will have to stop relying on tech by the aforementioned Chinese OEMs. There also a provision in the act that directs U.S agencies to allocate funding to companies for replacement of the Chinese technology.