Supply chain security: preventing the next big hack.

Tatyana Bolton, Policy Director at R Street Institute, moderated discussion between Alexiaa Jordan, Lincoln Network Analyst, Nina Kollars, Associate Professor at the Naval War College, and Megan Samford, Schneider Electric VP. 

The panelists recapped China’s strategic moves to eliminate foreign vendors from their ICT supply chain while pumping as much software and equipment as they can into other countries’ ecosystems. The long-term goal is global dependence on China, which would mean Beijing gets to write the rules. Companies face a difficult choice in the short-term, however, between accepting the risk that comes with adversarial vendors, or paying more for trusted supplies. Jordan praised President Trump’s initiatives to China out of the supply chain, but Kollars noted that many countries have had trouble with the security-cost tradeoff. Some crunch the numbers and decide to take the risk, so the US needs to chart its own course while continuing to try to persuade allies to come along, preferably with carrots, not sticks. Bolton noted that plenty of domestic industries struggle with cost-security tradeoffs as well, as seen at Oldsmar.

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