The Department of State is seeking information from industry vendors on how they would implement a 5G Clean Path plan.

Secretary Pompeo announced April 29 the Department will require a clean path for all 5G network traffic coming into and out of U.S. diplomatic facilities at home and overseas to ensure data does not traverse equipment provided by untrustworthy vendors such as Huawei or ZTE.

5G Clean Path requirements are beginning with Department missions overseas and may later be extended to include the overseas operations of some U.S. businesses in critical sectors.  This requirement will only apply to the future deployment of 5G networks.

The Request For Information (RFI) states that a “5G Clean Path embodies the highest standards of security against untrusted, high-risk vendors’ ability to disrupt, deny, or tamper with telecommunications traffic and services to private citizens, financial institutions, businesses, government, or critical infrastructure.”

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 889 prohibits U.S. executive agencies from procuring, obtaining, extending, or renewing contracts for any equipment, system, or telecommunications or other service that makes use of Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, and other untrusted People’s Republic of China (PRC) vendor equipment.

As part of the Department’s efforts to limit the risk to the United States from untrusted vendors, the Secretary announced, “The objective is that untrusted IT vendors will have no access to U.S. State Department systems.”

As the Secretary noted, “The Trump Administration has taken unprecedented action to defend our physical borders; so too are we defending America on our cyber frontiers.”