November 07, 2019

Transcript from CNAS Report Launch Event: "Securing Our 5G Future"

On November 7, the CNAS Technology and National Security Program hosted a launch event for the Securing Our 5G Future report. We are pleased to share the transcript of this event with you. It includes remarks from author Elsa B. Kania and a perspective from the U.S. government on 5G security from Robert L. Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State. The opinions expressed in the report are the author’s own and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of State or the U.S. government.

I. Opening Remarks

Martijn Rasser: Welcome to the Center for a New American Security. My name is Martijn Rasser, I'm a Senior Fellow here in the Technology and National Security Program. It's my pleasure to host this event, the official launch of the Securing Our 5G Future Report. The report is excellent, it's informative, insightful, offers concrete policy recommendations. I think you'll enjoy reading it and I think you'll end up revisiting it quite often.

Martijn Rasser: It's no exaggeration to say that 5G is poised to bring about tremendous advances across a spectrum of industries. It's more than just improved mobile telephony. 5G is going to enable, greatly improve military communications, situational awareness, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, telemedicine, and expansive device connectivity for a true Internet of Things. All of this is going to be possible due to the higher speed and capacity and lower latency of 5G networks. There will also almost certainly be innovations that we can't even conceive of today.

Martijn Rasser: 5G promises to be truly transformational and we're reminded of 5G's importance all the time. We see constant headlines about China's rise in 5G, the economic and national security risk 5G poses to the United States and its allies and partners.

Martijn Rasser: Just in the past few days we've seen China announce a 50-city rollout of 5G. The United States and Estonia issued a joint declaration on 5G security. Hungary signaled that it would allow Huawei on its 5G networks. At the same time, in Germany, legislators there have been pushing back on Chancellor Merkel's announcement that Huawei would be allowed in German networks. This report is extremely timely, and this event is very timely. We're very fortunate to have two 5G policy experts here with us to help us make sense of it all.

Martijn Rasser: First, I'd like to introduce Elsa Kania, author of the report. Among the many hats that she wears, she's an adjunct fellow here at the Center for a New American Security. Her accomplishments are extensive. Her writing is prolific. She truly is one of the world's foremost authorities on Chinese military technical innovation and it's great to have you here Elsa.

Martijn Rasser: To her left it Rob Strayer. Rob is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy. In this pivotal role he leads development of international cybersecurity, internet data, and privacy policy with foreign governments. He truly is at the tip of the spear of U.S. foreign policy and 5G, and a leading thinker on global emerging technology issues. Rob, it's a pleasure as always to have you here at CNAS.

Martijn Rasser: I asked Elsa to kick off the discussion with an overview of her findings and her policy recommendations. After that, I'll turn it over to Rob to provide State Department's perspective on 5G security. After that, you, the audience, will have a chance to interact with Elsa and Rob through a moderated Q&A. With that Elsa, I turn it over to you.

Download the full event transcript.

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