If 5G Networking Is a U.S. Intel Priority, Should It Receive U.S. Intel Funding?

David P. Goldman, China policy expert and frequent guest on Breitbart News Tonight, offered what he described as a “modest proposal” in an article published Thursday at PJ Media: If 5G wireless is so clearly a concern for U.S. intelligence, a portion of the intelligence budget should be invested in creating an American competitor to China’s dominant Huawei corporation.

Much of Goldman’s effort was focused on demonstrating that 5G wireless communications are one of the top priorities for the American intelligence community, which he argued has spent a great deal of money on far less valuable pursuits. 

One of the understated reasons for competing with China for 5G dominance is that China could use the technology to prevent American agencies from conducting the one kind of intelligence gathering it still does extremely well after a disastrous eight years under President Barack Obama:

The techie equivalent of the Oklahoma Land Rush is underway to embed quantum communications in the new 5G broadband networks under construction around the world. The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei along with British, South Korean, Japanese and other research groups are competing to make data transmission and voice or video calls hack-proof. The technology is proven, so it’s only a matter of time before the screens at the National Security Agency go dark. Quantum communications shift the balance of power in communications to the defense. It doesn’t matter whether you have powerful computers, for example, quantum computers, because you destroy the signal simply by observing it.

That, I believe, explains the furor in America’s spook world over Huawei’s prospective domination of 5G telecommunications. The spooks claim that Huawei will use back doors in its hardware to steal everyone’s data. No doubt Chinese intelligence will use every opportunity at its disposal to steal data, but that’s beside the point: No-one will be able to hack the next generation of data networks. Since the U.S. has a decisive advantage in SIGINT, China is the relative winner if no-one can read the world’s email.

Goldman also touched on the importance of 5G networking to the fusion of electronic intelligence and military hardware that will define the coming era of “hyperwar,” to use the term favored by increasingly nervous American and European analysts:

The real disaster in China’s domination of 5G isn’t data hacking. 5G is the thin end of a technological wedge that includes the Internet of Things, factory-floor automation, autonomous vehicles, and coordination of drone swarms. The last item on the list might be the most important development in warfare since the ballistic missile. A very large number of small, cheap drones acting in concert through Artificial Intelligence systems may be able to defeat everything that presently flies. If China controls 5G technology, it is all the more likely to prevail in the spinoff technologies.

With that in mind, Goldman suggested shifting $70 billion of the U.S. intelligence budget to research and development for 5G technology, matching Huawei’s R&D budget over the past decade and leaving the CIA with $10 billion to fund its “vast, unaudited empire that no one can monitor, let alone control.”

The prospect of CIA money pouring into network development might disturb some people, but after all, the Internet began as a defense and intelligence project. The Chinese would certainly have a field day with the prospect of money budgeted for the intelligence community flowing to American telecom companies instead, especially after the Trump administration warned the rest of the world about the dangers of Huawei working with Chinese intelligence. A little creative accounting might be in order for public relations purposes. Fortunately, Washington specializes in creative accounting.

One of Goldman’s key points was that American policymakers asked Western companies to avoid Huawei for security reasons but offered no real alternative, a rather astounding error given the widely acknowledged importance of next-generation networking. 

An exasperated Nilay Patel at The Verge asked in May why everyone from the tech industry to President Donald Trump keeps referring to the “race” for 5G when it is not a race at all because only China really bothered to compete. Patel shared none of Goldman’s concerns and thought it was silly to worry about whether China deploys 5G networking slightly faster than America or Europe, so he found the “race” rhetoric to be mostly empty hype deployed by telecom corporations and clickbaiting reporters.

“The race to 5G is a race that America must win. We can not allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future,” Trump declared in April. Unfortunately, that race began under his predecessor, whose distinct preference was for funding “green energy” projects. 

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