A letter from a bipartisan Senate panel to National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien calls on the White House to appoint someone to lead 5G adoption, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (Nov. 19).
The eight senators said the new role was important in order to safeguard the U.S. from lagging on the adoption of 5G technology. China’s leadership in deploying the broadband network represents a strategic risk to the U.S., the senators said.
The United States and its allies “are facing an unprecedented security challenge with the current marketplace of 5G technologies,” the letter said. Saying the current national-level approach to 5G is made up of a “dispersed coalition” of entities, the lawmakers cautioned, “This fractured approach will not be sufficient to rise to the challenge the country faces.”
The letter was signed by Senate Committee on Intelligence heads Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) as well as by the chairmen and ranking members of the Committee on Homeland Security, the Foreign Relations Committee and the Armed Forces Committee.
“While we appreciate the progress being made within and across departments and agencies, we are concerned that their respective approaches are not informed by a coherent national strategy,” the senators wrote. Appointing a 5G coordinator would “demonstrate to our allies the seriousness with which the nation considers the issue.”
The senators said China’s leadership in 5G, “combined with the United States’ increased reliance on high-speed, reliable telecommunications services to facilitate both commerce and defense, poses a strategic risk for the country.”
The senators recommend that the country take a proactive approach rather than defensive measures and “shape the future of advanced telecommunications technology.”
Short for fifth-generation technology, 5G is intended to speed up wireless service and improve connection, introducing a fourth industrial revolution with the Intelligence of Things (IoT) ecosystem and autonomous vehicles. Two-thirds of businesses have plans to develop new tools and technologies that will leverage 5G by 2020.