Congress must address America’s dependency on Chinese technology in defense bill

wWhen China recently closed the military capability gap, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced legislative language that could derail the Chinese Communist Party’s predatory military plans in one fell swoop.

Building on the important work of former President Donald Trump, who imposed 25% tariffs on Chinese-made microchips, the senator.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would prevent the United States from purchasing microchips from companies that work with CCP.

Microchips are what make much of America’s modern war equipment hum. But the US remains dependent on China for its supplies. This is a problem when companies with ties to CCP make them and sell them to contractors and suppliers working with the federal government. And it’s especially a problem when China’s grand strategy to defeat the US military depends on these chips.

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According to a new report released in October by the Special Competitive Studies Project, China is seeking to use advanced technology to apply military force “with the goal of eroding or even surpassing the military strength of the United States.”

China wants to be the “first mover” in “intelligence warfare” — warfare that uses emerging technologies such as AI, 5G networks, and quantum computing to defeat military rivals — to replace the United States as the world’s superpower. And it developed a
Made in China 2025 road map
to become a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI), 5G wireless, quantum computing, and other related industries in a dangerously short order.

Guess what technology is required to operate this intelligent warfare technology? You guessed it: microchips. So why would Congress allow the federal government to buy people with ties to the same CCP trying to use them to destroy America and its interests? That doesn’t sound safe – not by a long shot. It raises many issues, including but not limited to the prospect of future supply chain issues and backdoors that could lead to cyber-attacks and espionage.

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While both sides agree on the need to reduce reliance on Chinese-made chips, they disagree on the best approach.

Some opposed the CHIPS Act, which aimed to reduce dependence on this foreign technology by boosting U.S. production, because they found its $250 billion price tag too expensive and too favorable to wealthy corporations. Senator Cornyn’s NDAA proposal eliminates all of these concerns. It’s not spending a ton of money we don’t have; it doesn’t even ban all microchips – it just gets to the root of the problem by stopping microchips manufactured by companies with known ties to the CCP from getting into the federal government’s way.

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After hearing the terrifying speeches and proclamations from the 20th CCP Party Congress last month, including the party’s plan to prioritize technology and innovation. For strategic reasons, every lawmaker should agree that protecting America from the potential threat of Chinese technology should be a top national priority. Passing the Cornyn amendment to the NDAA would be a good place to start.

Here’s hoping rationality prevails. Our national security depends on it.


Jon Schweppe is director of policy and government affairs for the American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe.


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