The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday released a strategic plan for how it will confront threats from China, taking advantage of the department's existing authorities and capabilities to respond to challenges in the areas of border security and immigration, trade and economic security, cyber security, and maritime security.
"For decades" China "has leveraged non-traditional tools to gain access to and exploit our global institutions and rules-based order, with little to no response," DHS says. "This has resulted in the erosion of, and direct attacks against, U.S. national security and economic competitiveness, including the exploitation of our immigration system, manipulation of open-markets, and theft of our intellectual property."
The DHS Strategic Plan to Counter The Threat Posed By The People's Republic Of China is based on recommendations from a China Working Group stood up last year by then Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who resigned last week but remains as the department's top policy official.
The plan includes a number of action items in each of the four key activity areas, including prioritizing efforts in the cyber security and critical infrastructure to "counter malicious" Chinese activity. The efforts include utilizing the Joint Cyber Coordination Group to counter cyber activity and the targeting of critical infrastructure, the standup of an internal working group to examine risks related to information theft from unmanned aircraft systems, and enhancing the Coast Guard's Cyber Protection Team to better detect, deter and prevent threats from nation-states to the maritime transportation system.
DHS also says it will impose "scalable costs" to "deter and respond" to China's malicious cyber activity.
In the area of maritime security, the Coast Guard will conduct maritime domain awareness in the polar regions through manned and unmanned aviation and a "robust icebreaking fleet" to counter China's increased presence and influence.
Some of the action items DHS will pursue in the area of trade and economic security include the use of best practices to strengthen supply chain entities such as the Federal Acquisition Security Council, and the development of a 5G lessons learned policy to provide options to identify and mitigate risks from high-risk Chinese products and technologies in the information communication technology and other U.S. supply chains. DHS will also work with the Commerce Department on options for the government to increase trade with semiconductor chip sectors in other countries such as India and Taiwan.