‘Grave concerns’: US ex-military leaders warn that allies’ use of Chinese 5G tech poses unacceptable risk

From the Washington Post, republished in South China Morning Post, April 4, 2019

  • The six ex-commanders bluntly said Chinese 5G equipment risked espionage and disruptive cyberattacks on military operations, and ‘the time for action is now’
  • The statement was timed to the opening of a Nato summit of foreign ministers in Washington


Former Pentagon leaders have joined current chiefs to warn about the risks to future US military operations posed by allies in Europe and Asia using Chinese technology in their 5G wireless telecommunications networks.

In a statement Wednesday, six former officials noted that the immense bandwidth and super-high speeds of the coming 5G systems – up to 100 times faster than current 4G platforms – will make them attractive for the US military to use to share data with allies or transfer information in combat.

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And they and US defence officials warn that allowing Chinese firms such as Huawei Technologies to outfit these networks poses unacceptable risks of espionage and disruptive cyberattacks on military operations because of Huawei’s alleged ties to the Chinese government and a 2017 Chinese law that requires companies, if directed, to cooperate in surveillance activities.

“While our concern is for future operations, the time for action is now,” said the leaders, who include James Stavridis, the retired admiral and former head of Nato; Philip Breedlove, the retired general and former head of US European Command; Samuel Locklear III, the retired admiral and former head of US Pacific Command; and James Clapper Jnr, the retired lieutenant general and former director of national intelligence.

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Their blunt statement – the first by so many former senior commanders – was timed to the Wednesday opening of a Nato summit of foreign ministers in Washington.

“As military leaders who have commanded US and allied troops around the world, we have grave concerns about a future where a Chinese-developed 5G network is widely adopted among our allies and partners,’’ they said.

Pentagon leaders also are sounding the alarm. Last week, Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment, said at an Atlantic Council conference that China is engaged in a struggle with the United States for “digital supremacy” economically and militarily.

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Read the full article, with interesting SCMP related articles here


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