Rubio, Warner Propose Bill to Coordinate Federal Response to China's ‘Tech-Specific Threats’

Sen. Marco Rubio / Getty Images
January 7, 2019

Sens. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Mark Warner (D., Va.) introduced legislation Friday to help combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors," naming China in particular.

The two members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence proposed the legislation to coordinate federal agencies’ strategies for stopping state-sponsored technology theft and protecting critical supply chains.

"China continues to conduct a coordinated assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses, and our government networks and information with the full backing of the Chinese Communist Party," Rubio said. "The United States needs a more coordinated approach to directly counter this critical threat and ensure we better protect U.S. technology."

The bill would create a White House Office of Critical Technologies & Security responsible "for coordinating across agencies and developing a long-term, whole-of-government strategy to protect against state-sponsored technology theft and risks to critical supply chains," according to Rubio’s press release.

Warner said a renewed strategy is needed because "China is determined to use every tool in its arsenal to surpass the United States technologically and dominate us economically."

"We need a whole-of-government technology strategy to protect U.S. competitiveness in emerging and dual-use technologies and address the Chinese threat by combating technology transfer from the United States," Warner said. "We look forward to working with the Executive Branch and others to coordinate and respond to this threat."

Last year, Rubio and Warner joined with other senators to introduce a bill requiring Chinese telecom company ZTE comply with the Trump administration's deal lifting a ban on the export of American components to ZTE. Chinese tech firms have faced increasing scrutiny for technology theft in the face of national security implications.

Another Chinese firm, Huawei, saw its CFO arrested in Canada for financial fraud last month, with the possibility that she could be extradited to the U.S.