recommended reading

Congress Cracks Down on Purchases of Chinese-Made IT

Arkadiusz Komski/

Legislation expected to pass both the House and Senate by late this week bars several departments from buying Chinese-manufactured computer equipment until federal authorities conduct special inspections. The stipulation faces opposition from some unlikely corners though: U.S. businesses allegedly hacked by China have said the move will probably slow acquisitions and hurt American multinational companies.

The provision, included in a fiscal 2014 spending package up for a House vote today, is a reaction to China's alleged gross theft of U.S. trade secrets and classified intelligence. Lawmakers folded a similar policy into fiscal 2013 funding legislation. 

The measure directs the departments of Commerce and Justice, NASA and the National Science Foundation to screen for “any risk of cyber-espionage or sabotage” in computer systems "produced, manufactured, or assembled" by entities "that may be owned, directed, or subsidized by the People’s Republic of China." 

Last spring, industry associations argued that discrimination against China could encourage retaliation, and the mandatory audits could delay installation of new federal security systems.

"The requirement to assess every IT product purchase, absent any triggering threshold, will likely slow the federal acquisition process and put impacted federal agencies behind the security innovation curve because they would not be acquiring and using the latest security innovations," the technology organizations wrote in a letter to lawmakers. Cosigners included the Chamber of Commerce, whose own data reportedly was compromised by Chinese hackers in 2011. 

Another somewhat protectionist stipulation in the 2014 measure essentially outlaws military supercomputers developed anywhere outside the United States. The Pentagon cannot purchase a foreign-built machine without certifying to Congress that capable U.S.-made systems are not available, according to the legislation. 

A recently-enacted defense authorization bill directs the Energy Department to create “exascale” supercomputers for simulating nuclear weapons explosions. The machines would run at a speed of a quintillion operations per second. That is 1,000 times faster than the pace of the present record holder, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology that can perform 34 quadrillion calculations per second.

(Image via Arkadiusz Komski/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.