5G promises exciting possibilities and daunting challenges. This transformative technology will be critical to enabling the fourth industrial revolution, creating new industries and new possibilities, while perhaps providing trillions in economic dividends. At present, the United States seems to be situated in a position of relative disadvantage, while China appears to be poised to become a global leader in 5G. The claims by the Trump administration that the United States “is now leading the global race” for 5G should not obscure the reality of this challenge, nor will calls for “America First” in 5G contribute to the right policy choices. American leadership in 5G will depend upon a strategy that recognizes the criticality of not only actively investing in its deployment but also catalyzing new directions in innovation, while prioritizing security and deepening collaboration with allies and partners in the process.
5G is not merely a race to be won, nor should the objective of the United States be simply to deploy it “as soon as possible.” Instead, the deployment and realization of the full potential 5G will play out over at least a decade to come. 5G is not simply faster 4G, but rather creates a new paradigm for connectivity with very high speed, low latency and high throughput. Based on these characteristics, 5G will be integral to realizing the potential of the Internet of Things and promising applications of artificial intelligence, from remote surgeries to autonomous driving in smart cities. In this regard, 5G will become tantamount to critical infrastructure, because its disruption or exploitation could prove deeply damaging, even deadly. Consequently, security will be imperative, and talk of ‘racing’ for 5G risks undermining this critical foundation.
Read the full article in The National Interest.
More from CNAS
CommentaryStemming the Flow: The United States Needs a Strategy to Address China’s Strategic Exportation of Digital Authoritarianism
Many of China’s technology companies perfect their products in the domestic market by facilitating the party-state’s oppression and data control, and subsequently seek to expo...
By Joshua Fitt
VideoUnderstanding China’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy
Elsa Kania discusses myths she has seen about China’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy and the actual scope of MCF in China....
By Elsa B. Kania
PodcastTop Trump administration official's advice to India on China, Quad
Lisa Curtis was interviewed for the In Focus Podcast with The Hindu's Diplomatic Affairs Editor Suhasini Haidar. Listen to the full interview from The Hindu....
By Lisa Curtis
CommentaryThe U.S.’s China Strategy Needs New Tools
Policymakers maintain an unparalleled capacity to push back using sanctions, export controls and investment restrictions. Trade, however, presents a unique dilemma....
By Jordan Schneider & David Talbot