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Rubio, Warner Secure Critical 5G Provisions in Defense Bill

Dec 11, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Warner (D-VA) secured a provision (Sec. 9202) in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395) conference report that passed the Senate to support the development of a 5G wireless network by establishing the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund and the Multilateral Telecommunications Security Fund. The Senate’s action sends the final conference report to the President.
“It is in our national security interests to support American competition in the 5G market and take action to counter efforts by Chinese state-directed telecommunications companies to dominate wireless technology supply chains,” Rubio said. “I was proud to secure this critical provision in the FY21 NDAA conference report that will support the development of an innovative 5G wireless network that leverages American strengths and creates American jobs in the industries of the future without relying on malign Chinese state-directed actors like Huawei and ZTE.”
“For too long we’ve called for our allies and trading partners to reject Huawei digital infrastructure – without providing competitively-priced, innovative alternatives that address their needs. I’m pleased to see my bipartisan, bicameral legislation included in this year’s defense funding bill,” Warner said. “I look forward to working with Senate Appropriators next year to ensure that these programs – which advance major national security priorities – receive full funding in the coming year.” 
Rubio and Warner’s provision builds upon the bipartisan legislation they introduced earlier this year to encourage and support U.S. innovation in the race for 5G by providing more than $1 billion to invest in Western-based alternatives to Chinese equipment providers Huawei and ZTE, malign state-directed telecommunications companies that pose a clear and growing threat to the economic and national security of the U.S. and our allies.
In July, Rubio and Warner supported an amendment that was adopted to the Senate passed FY 2021 NDAA that supports the development of secure 5G networks in open-standards to compete with our adversaries.
In a CNBC op-ed earlier this year, Rubio highlighted the importance of why the United States and its allies must reject China’s Huawei and lead on 5G development:

Countries cutting out Huawei and its cheap, high-risk hardware will have to look for trusted alternatives, such as newer, interoperable open radio access networks (ORANs), which bypass the need for Huawei’s end-to-end proprietary gear and thus are more open to market innovation.
Governments should support innovative telecom companies that are leading the way when it comes to ORAN solutions. In the United States, I have worked with my colleagues on bipartisan legislation, the USA Telecommunications Act, which would provide $750 million in federal funding for research and development of these open and adaptable technologies.
Defending against Huawei — and other Chinese state-directed companies — will require an aggressive, global effort to support innovative technologies, grow our economies, and increase secure 5G access. To that end, my legislation devotes $500 million specifically to encourage the spread of open-access technologies.