President Signs Executive Order on Transactions Posing National Security Risks

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order barring agencies from any transaction or use of technology that could threaten national security. The order, “Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain,” specifically targets communications or information technology or services designed, developed, or manufactured by individuals connected to or controlled by foreign adversaries.

The order gives the Commerce Department 150 days to issue regulations and procedures for reviewing transactions. It requires the Commerce Department’s determination of which transactions pose a national security risk to be made in communication with other federal leaders, including but not limited to the Attorney General, Director of National Intelligence, and the General Services Administration administrators.

Within 40 days, the National Intelligence Director must provide an assessment of the current risks produced by information or communication technology or services developed by persons connected to or directed by foreign adversaries.

The Secretary of Homeland Security must also produce a written assessment addressing vulnerabilities in hardware, software, and services that threaten the nation. The secretary must evaluate the extent to which these programs are relied upon by service providers and critical infrastructure entities. This report must be produced in 80 days.

Within one year, the Secretary of Commerce and other relevant officials must brief the president on whether the actions taken to mitigate risks have done so effectively.

In a statement to Congress, President Trump noted, “Foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services, which store and communicate vast amounts of sensitive information, facilitate the digital economy, and support critical infrastructure and vital emergency services, in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people.  Although maintaining an open investment climate in information and communications technology, and in the United States economy more generally, is important for the overall growth and prosperity of the United States, such openness must be balanced by the need to protect our country against critical national security threats.”

The executive order does not name any specific foreign adversaries with which the agencies should sever ties.

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