National Security Institute Publishes New Policy Paper: “Chinese Telecommunications Companies Huawei and ZTE: Countering a Hostile Foreign Threat”

January 24, 2019
Contact: Jessica Jones


Arlington, VA – On January 24, 2019, the National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School published its latest NSI Law and Policy Paper, “Chinese Telecommunications Companies Huawei and ZTE: Countering a Hostile Foreign Threat,” by NSI Fellow Andy Keiser and NSI Senior Fellow Bryan Smith.  The paper will be briefed to Congress at a public event next month; date to be determined.

This Law and Policy Paper:

  • Describes the foundations of Huawei and ZTE, the concerning actions taken by these companies, and the responses taken by the United States and allied governments.
  • Evaluates the key issues at stake for U.S. national security and competitiveness.
  • Argues that the U.S. should seek additional restrictions on Huawei and ZTE products and services in the U.S., while working with allies and partners to limit Chinese telecommunications expansion.
  • Provides actionable recommendations to counter the serious national security threat from Huawei and ZTE.

The authors provide the following actionable recommendations:

  • Strict Enforcement:  The Office of Management and Budget should issue guidance for rigorous compliance monitoring and strict enforcement of the NDAA bans.
  • Allied Solidarity:  The State Department should lead a diplomatic campaign to incent allies to adopt protections and to condition ‘Five Eyes’ participation.
  • Initiate Sec. 232 Investigation:  The Department of Commerce should initiate an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
  • Prepare Strategy to Counter Retaliation:  The National Security Council and the National Economic Council should devise a strategy to counter any Chinese retaliation.
  • Register Huawei and ZTE ‘Foreign Agents’:  The Department of Justice should require Huawei and ZTE representatives to register as “foreign agents” under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

The paper is available here.

Comments from the authors and NSI Founder:

Andy Keiser:  “This paper should illuminate the national security threat posed by Huawei and ZTE for policymakers in Washington, DC and around the globe, while also offering five actionable recommendations to mitigate that threat.  Huawei and ZTE’s years of global mischief and potential to conduct crippling cyber attacks or espionage on behalf of the Chinese Government is too great a risk to have in the telecommunications infrastructure of an increasingly connected world.”

Bryan Smith:  “Since we began writing our paper, we’ve seen a major shift in Allied government concern about Huawei, and a movement of the U.S. government towards some of the recommendations that we offer here.”

Jamil N. Jaffer: “We’ve long known that Huawei and ZTE present a potential national security threat to the United States, but this paper written by former senior House Intelligence Committee staffers with serious credibility, highlights new information about these companies’ illicit activities that has come to light in recent years and also focuses attention directly on their role in critically important future technologies, including 5G,” said Jaffer, Founder and Executive Director of GMU Scalia Law’s National Security Institute.  “The paper is an important contribution to the policy literature in this space, and it ought to be required reading for all members of Congress, their staffs, and political and career appointees in the executive branch with responsibility for national security, cybersecurity, or supply chain matters.”

About the National Security Institute
The National Security Institute serves as a platform for research, teaching, scholarship, and policy development that incorporates a realistic assessment of the threats facing the United States and its allies, as well as an appreciation of the legal and practical challenges facing U.S. intelligence, defense, law enforcement, homeland security, and cybersecurity communities.  NSI draws on the experience of its visiting fellows, as well as its highly distinguished advisory board and faculty, to produce timely research and policy materials that deliver insightful analysis and actionable recommendations to senior policymakers in the White House and key departments and agencies, as well as those on Capitol Hill.

About George Mason
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states.  Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

About the Scalia Law School
The Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University is defined by three words: Learn. Challenge. Lead. Students receive an outstanding legal education (Learn), are taught to critically evaluate prevailing orthodoxy and pursue new ideas (Challenge), and, ultimately, are well prepared to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields (Lead).  It has been one of America’s top-ranked law schools for the last fifteen years.