Congress to consider bill requiring majority U.S. ownership of critical infrastructure

Published 9 March 2006

House Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter (R-California) is introducing legislation which would require majority U.S. ownership of “critical infrastructure,” including possibly wireless networks and other telecommunications systems. The legislation is being pursued in response to the controversial deal to turn ownership of six U.S. ports to a government-owed company based in the United Arab Emirates. The bill would require the secretary of defense, in consultation with the DHS secretary, to prepare and maintain a national defense critical infrastructure list. It is unclear what exactly will be on this list. Critical infrastructure is defined as “any system or asset — physical or virtual — that is so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such system or asset would have a debilitating effect on national security, economic security, or public health and safety.”

Note that, currently, Vodafone Group owns a minority interest in Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA is owned by German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom.

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