Photo Credit: David B. Gleason (CC-By-SA 2.0)

RED OAK, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, a combat veteran and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, called on the Pentagon to stop buying and using tech equipment that can be hacked by our adversaries. Last year, the Department of Defense (DoD) purchased more than $30 million of electronic equipment manufactured by Chinese companies with known cybersecurity vulnerabilities despite repeated warnings by other government agencies.

“Spending millions of taxpayer money on computers, printers, and other tech equipment with known cybersecurity risks just doesn’t make sense and threatens to undermine our national security. That’s why I’m urging the Pentagon to pull the plug on these purchases, so we’re not only saving hard-earned tax dollars but standing up to cyberattacks from China, and other bad actors,” Ernst said.

The Pentagon’s purchases included thousands of computer products and other electronics with known cybersecurity risks, including equipment from the largest computer company in China. DoD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) warned that this technology could compromise critical national security missions. For more than a decade, warnings have been repeatedly issued by government agencies—including DoD’s own Joint Chiefs of Staff Intelligence Directorate—about the dangers of using technology from these Chinese companies. In 2016, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Intelligence Directorate cautioned that these “computers and handheld devices could introduce compromised hardware into the DoD supply chain, posing a cyberespionage risk to classified and unclassified DoD networks.”  

For these reasons, Ernst wrote a letter to Deputy Secretary of Defense, David Norquist, outlining the wasteful spending done by the Pentagon and urging him to prohibit the purchase of any additional technology with cybersecurity vulnerabilities.   

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