Pentagon Bans Sale of Chinese-Designed Phones On Military Bases

By Caitlin Fairchild

May 3, 2018

The Pentagon is cracking down on the sale of Chinese-designed phones and other devices over hacking concerns.

The Defense Department announced Wednesday that it is banning the sale of phones made by Chinese-based companies Huawei and ZTE on military bases worldwide over worries that the companies could hack the phones and use them to gather intelligence for the Chinese government. 

"Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to Department's personnel, information and mission," said Pentagon spokesman Major Dave Eastburn. "In light of this information, it was not prudent for the department's exchanges to continue selling them to DOD personnel."

Military personnel are still currently allowed to buy a Huawei or ZTE device for personal use from stores off base. DoD is considering issuing a wider advisory about the brands and their devices, however.

The Defense Department isn't alone in its concern about these companies and the security threat their technology could pose.

Lawmakers and intelligence officials raised alarm in February over the possibility of Chinese espionage through Huawei and ZTE devices. The Federal Communications Commission submitted a proposal in March that would make it more difficult for U.S. telephone and Internet companies to purchase these companies' products.

By Caitlin Fairchild // Caitlin Fairchild is Nextgov's Web Producer. In her role, she writes about privacy, personal security and emerging tech, but also coordinates Nextgov's social media strategy. She has worked at Government Executive Media Group since 2011. Caitlin has previously written for Living Social, Washingtonian and Nellis Air Force Base. She is an alumna of The College of William & Mary.

May 3, 2018