Trump Declares National Emergency and Calls for Securing Nation’s Communications Networks and Supply Chain

Trump Declares National Emergency and Calls for Securing Nation’s Communications Networks and Supply Chain

Yesterday, in the middle of an escalating trade war with China, President Trump, in a bold and calculated move on the chess board, issued an Executive Order declaring a national emergency to secure our nation’s communications networks and supply chain. In essence, the Executive Order bans any American communications company from installing equipment from foreign adversaries that pose a national security threat.

The Executive Order covers any transaction that –

(A) poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of information and communications technology or services in the United States;

(B) poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of United States critical infrastructure or the digital economy of the United States, or

(C) otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.

While not naming any companies or countries specifically, this Executive Order is clearly aimed at Huawei and ZTE, both of which have close ties and are controlled by the Chinese government and are known to represent a national security threat. The Order is effective immediately and mandates that the Secretary of Commerce issue regulations within 150 days.

The FCC Commission has been working on this issue since last spring when it issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, resulting in a plethora of public comments filed. And, as recently as last week, the Commission denied China Mobile USA’s Application to provide telecommunications services in the United States.

We should expect the Commission to issue an Order in the coming months that will directly impact recipients of federal funding under the universal service programs, including E-rate and Rural Healthcare. These actions will surely increase prices for recipients of such funding and raise the stakes in the race toward 5G dominance.