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Fireside Chat on 5G Security and the Clean Network at Bucharest Forum 2020

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In this Fireside Chat at the Bucharest Forum 2020, Cristina Cileacu of Digi24 discusses 5G Security and Clean Network with Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, Keith Krach, and Mr. Mircea Geoana Deputy Secretary General of NATO.

Partial transcript:
Cristina Cileacu: I would like to start with a question for the Under Secretary of State. You just returned from an important European tour, including visits at NATO and the European Commission. In your view, sir, where are the America always situated when it comes to 5G and related security conversations?

Under Secretary Krach: It was an absolutely fantastic trip. It was eight countries, 10 cities. Right now there’s between the EU and NATO countries, there are twenty five countries that are now on the Clean Network. So that means that they only either used or they’re committed to only use trusted 5G suppliers. I had, you know, in addition to a great meeting with the Deputy Secretary, had a great meeting with Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner, about merging that Clean Network with the 5G EU Clean Toolbox.

And there’s tremendous synergy in that. And, you know, I think one of the key things from a Transatlantic Alliance standpoint, we don’t want to see a fractured NATO. We want to make sure that during peace time or war time, the 5G civilian systems are trusted. We don’t want to have some countries where it’s trusted, some where it’s not. And there’s been just tremendous progress. You know, you’ve seen you’ve heard about the U.K. and France. The press wrote about Germany. And I had great visits in Germany with CEOs as well as many different ministries of the government. The press stated they’re writing those regulations right now, that, in essence, is going to keep out untrusted vendors. Belgium just announced their telcos are all now clean. Luxembourg did as well. Albania and Estonia joined us on the clean path. That and also Spain, Portugal, as well as Austria, are writing standards based on the 5G/EU Clean Tool Box.

Deputy Secretary Geoana: Cristine. It’s a pleasure to see again. Secretary Krach. We had a fantastic conversation here at NATO.

I’m also very appreciative of his personal and institutional effort to bring so many allies and member states in the EU more or less on on on on the same track. I would say that from a NATO perspective, we are looking at the subject of 5G with basically triple lenses. The first one is an essential component of the broader conversation on resilience. Resilience is the buzzword, especially in these very difficult times of the pandemic. But NATO has developed over time an important set of guidelines and requirements on on resilience, including on telecommunications and 5G.

So this is very important because this is a technology that is bringing an important transformation in the way in which we work, the way we live, the way we do business, the way we communicate. And, of course, the way we ensure our security.

So that’s the resilience angle.

There is a second angle that Secretary Krach alluded to, which is exceptionally important for this alliance. We are 30 nations in this alliance, one billion people represented by our great alliance.

But the issue that the secretary referred to, interoperability, is also a very important topic in NATO. Thats the essence of this alliance.

We are not in the position to work together, to defend each other, to to bring peace and stability, not only to the one billion people we have pledged to defend, but also to bring peace and security around the world if we are unable to use the same kind of instruments. And telecommunication also for our military, not only for our civilian networks, were economic users, is also very, very much important.

And the third angle to this conversation that also the huge business experience and the fact that secondary Krach built in his previous incarnations before joining the administration, he was he was one of the biggest business leaders in terms of new technologies. So also in NATO, we are looking at 5G together with AI and data, together with the block chain, together with space, together with biotechnology, together with the other new revolutions in technology as part of our emerging and disruptive technologies roadmap that our leaders last gave us marching orders to work on this thing. If we do this right, I’m convinced that this will also be opening, a method, a way forward for us to be able as a NATO alliance, together with our European allies, together, with our North American allies and friends to really develop a very solid method to work together, to find solutions together.

And I again, I applaud the superb effort that Secretary Krach has undertaken. His European tour was one of the most successful ones I have witnessed in recent time. And I’m only confident that he will return to Europe. And, sir, I look forward to meeting you again and continuing our conversation.

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