The United Global Leadership  (5G)                                

January 23, 2020

Mr. Robert O’Brien                                                                                                               Mr. Lawrence Kudlow                                                                                                                     Assistant to the President                                                                                               Assistant to the President

         for National Security Affairs                                                                                                    for Economic Policy

                                                                                                                                                        The White House

Mr. Robert Blair

Special Representative for International 

                  Telecommunications Policy

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. 

Washington, D.C. 20500 Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Messrs. O’Brien, Kudlow, and Blair:

As conservative leaders concerned about maintaining the United States’ global leadership

position in creating, researching, and deploying next-generation wireless technology (“5G”), we urge the

Trump Administration to protect U.S. national security by taking steps to develop a governmentwide

strategy to protect our leadership position in critical technologies like 5G. We applaud the appointment of

Mr. Blair to serve as the Administration’s 5G lead, and hope that the White House will take an active role

in promoting U.S. 5G leadership. In light of competition from Chinese companies that receive significant

financial and political support from their government, the challenge of protecting U.S. leadership is truly

a national imperative that requires a serious governmentwide approach, while working closely with

private sector leaders.

Technological superiority is a critical part of our national security. In a report released in

December, the Ronald Reagan Institute Task Force on 21st Century National Security Technology and

Workforce noted, “China aims to supplant the United States as the world’s leading technological power

by 2030” and hopes to “lead the world in cutting-edge technologies that might allow it to leapfrog the

The United States both economically and militarily.”

As the Reagan Task Force explains, in the U.S., “many of the technologies most important to

national security are being developed and produced for civilian purposes by civilian actors who have no

history with or connected to the national security community.” China, on the other hand, drives

innovation from the top-down, with the most innovative Chinese companies working side-by-side with

the Communist Party to develop technologies for both civilian and military use, including 5G. Our U.S.

national security thus depends on U.S. innovators competing with — and beating — China in these

critical technologies.

We caution that any strategy to protect U.S. national security from Chinese technological

dominance in 5G must focus on maintaining U.S. leadership in 5G R&D. So-called “decoupling” —

effectively creating two separate wireless technology regimes, one led by the U.S. and one led by China --

would undermine American companies’ and thus America’s ability to innovate in 5G, which is exactly the

opposite of our goals. We must instead play to U.S. strengths, which include private property rights-based incentives, market competition, and R&D’s risk and reward that may result in large payoffs for

recouping sunk costs as well as dynamic competition benefiting consumers worldwide while fueling

innovation in the U.S.A.

The United Global Leadership (pg2)                                               

We’re concerned that the risks to our national security of decoupling from China far outweigh any

benefit. Thus, we urge the Trump Administration to consider the impact on U.S. innovation leadership

when imposing restrictions on the ability of U.S. companies to sell non-national security technologies in

China. Innovative U.S. businesses depend heavily on the licensing of U.S. patented technology and the

sale of American products, technologies, and services in the China market to generate revenue that they

can spend on R&D, largely here in the United States. Dividing wireless technology into two spheres of

influence would damage our national security, both by preventing China from adopting — and paying

U.S. innovators for — U.S.-made wireless technology, and by restricting the ability of U.S. innovators to

participate in the development of global wireless standards.

Decoupling threatens U.S. innovation, isolates the United States from the largest market in the

world for wireless products, and threatens our national security by exposing global wireless networks to

Chinese dominance. Instead, the Administration must ensure continued U.S. global leadership in 5G.

This requires technology companies’ ability to compete with China’s on a global scale, and that U.S.

technology play a leading role in developing global 5G standards. As you know, 5G standards-setting is

reaching a critical stage, making pursuit of a competition strategy rather than decoupling all the more

important. Our national security starts with the science and standards that form the foundation of any new

technology. Ceding this leadership to foreign technologies will leave U.S. citizens, businesses, and

governments vulnerable. One concrete step the Administration can take is to clarify that U.S. companies

can fully participate in 5G standards development bodies that include Huawei and other Chinese

companies without violating export controls regulations. Such guidance is critical to ensuring that

standards bodies are not dominated by Chinese technologies and U.S. companies are on a level playing


We strongly believe that the White House must lead a comprehensive, government-wide strategy

to protect our national security in a connected world. Rather than broadly restrict business with China,

we should leverage our most significant asset — unmatched innovation for next-generation wireless

technologies like 5G and beyond — to ensure that these technologies, built on a U.S.-invented

foundation, are adopted around the world. By this, we ensure a U.S. competitive and trade advantage

over Chinese technology champions, forcing them to buy American core, state-of-the-art technology as

5G blooms and spurs new applications and uses.

We look forward to engaging further with you and the Administration on these issues, and

working together to support continued U.S. leadership in global innovation.


James Edwards                                                                                                                      Hon. J. Kenneth Blackwell

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