Jan 4, 2019

Bipartisan senators pitch a White House tech security office

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) proposed legislation Friday to create a White House Office of Critical Technologies and Security that would advise the president and coordinate the government's response to intellectual property theft and supply chain risks.

Why it matters: Economic espionage, supply chain issues and national security are inextricably linked.

  • Tech products allegedly sabotaged by the Chinese government to enable espionage can be used to steal U.S. intellectual property, weakening U.S. economic security by driving down the cost and increasing the market share of those same sabotaged tech products.
  • Many products with civilian uses also have military uses. And while the U.S. generally supports efforts to keep those duel-use products out of the hands of countries like North Korea and Iran, Chinese firm ZTE was caught this summer selling sanctioned products to both countries.

The proposed office would address a number of issues:

  • The government's defenses against economic espionage and supply chain attacks are currently split between multiple agencies, ranging from the Department of Homeland Security to Treasury to State.
  • Meanwhile, President Trump has seen fit to interject himself in these issues, as with this summer's ZTE controversy, but lacks a single point of contact for advice.
  • The proposed head of the OCTS would bridge the gap between the economic and national security advisers to advise the president and general public on the issue.

The director of the office would report directly to the president, and maintain positions on the National Security Council and National Economic Council.

"China continues to conduct a coordinated assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses, and our government networks and information with the full backing of the Chinese Communist Party. The United States needs a more coordinated approach to directly counter this critical threat."
— Sen. Marco Rubio

Go deeper: Why Chinese theft of U.S. tech is hard to stop

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In photos: Life in the era of coronavirus across the U.S.

Cellist Jodi Beder performs a daily concert on her front porch in Mount Rainier, Maryland, to help people passing by and her neighbors cope with the outbreak. Photo: Andrew Caballero-ReynoldsE/AFP via Getty Images;

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the U.S. has grown from one on Jan. 21 to over 312,000 by early Sunday, per Johns Hopkins.

The big picture: Roughly 3/4 of the American population is on lockdown. From practicing social distancing to the shutdown of non-essential businesses, here's how Americans are coping with the massive upheaval the outbreak has brought, in photos.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 1,202,827 — Total deaths: 64,771 — Total recoveries: 246,886Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 312,076 — Total deaths: 8,496 — Total recoveries: 14,997Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1.2 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 1.2 million worldwide Saturday night, as Spain overtook Italy as the country with the most infections outside the U.S. The global death toll has surpassed 64,700, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: The United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II will speak in a televised address on the coronavirus Sunday of the "disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all," per the BBC. The U.K. death toll rose 708 to 4,313 on Saturday — the fourth highest in the world.

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