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One of America’s greatest security vulnerabilities is the U.S. Government’s lack of knowledge of the exact components that go into the weapons and systems American military personnel depend on. Today many items used by the federal government – e.g. smartphones, batteries, vehicles, and weapons systems – contain components with backdoor surveillance capabilities that retrieve sensitive U.S. Government information, or “kill switches” that could enable a foreign adversary to disable equipment while in use or tamper with the device remotely.
With the Chinese Communist Party committed to military superiority over the United States, it’s a realistic scenario that the CCP could exploit these vulnerabilities in both peacetime and wartime.
Little has been written on this risk, or how to fix it. Now CTT is exposing the risks and offering solutions. In consultation with Nazak Nikakhtar, former Acting BIS Under Secretary, the report No Weak Links shows how the U.S. government can act to identify where U.S. defense supply chains may contain dangerous components:
Despite U.S. Government inaction to date, the Government does have authority to compel vendors to review their supply chain vulnerabilities and report them to the Government. For example, the Pentagon can mandate its primes to audit their supply chains for risks. Pursuant to authorities under section 705 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 as amended (“DPA”) (50 U.S.C. app. 2155) and § 104 of Executive Order 13603 of March 16, 2012 (National Defense Resources Preparedness, 77 FR 16651, 3 CFR, 2012 Comp., p. 225), the U.S. Government conducts studies to determine whether the U.S. industrial base’s capabilities appropriately support the U.S. Government, defense sector, or the broader domestic commercial supply chain.
Nikakhtar goes on to outline a plan using Defense Production Surveys:
- Commerce Department issues surveys to contractors
- Survey recipients conduct due diligence
- Contractors direct supply chains audits
With the Department of Defense overseeing a massive contracting apparatus, the time is now to begin such work. Read the details here.
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