The Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector

American life runs on our information and communications infrastructure.  The confidentiality, integrity, and availability of U.S. telecommunications networks and the communications that run through them are essential to America’s economy, our citizens’ privacy, and our national security. 

While the United States is committed to an open investment environment, our prosperity depends on managing security risks effectively.  We must ensure that America’s rivals cannot turn our telecommunications infrastructure from a benefit into a vulnerability.

For more than 20 years, interested Executive Branch agencies have been assisting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of an informal process known as Team Telecom, which considers whether foreign ownership or control of an applicant seeking to participate in the U.S. telecommunications sector presents national security or law enforcement concerns.

On April 4, 2020, the President signed an Executive Order, formally establishing the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector (Committee) to assist the FCC with its public-interest review of foreign participation in the telecommunications sector.

This Executive Order formalizes and improves the Executive Branch’s process for advising the FCC:

  • It names the Attorney General as Chair of a Committee, of which the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security are also Members;
  • It requires the Committee and their designees to review applications and recommend dispositions for most within 120 days, and no more than 210 days;
  • It designates national security, foreign policy, trade policy, and economic agencies as Advisors to the Committee, ensuring that the Committee’s ultimate recommendations reflect a balanced, coordinated Executive Branch viewpoint; and
  • It establishes a mechanism through which Committee Members and Advisors can resolve even the most complex matters in less than a year.

The confidentiality, integrity, and availability of United States telecommunications networks are vital to United States national security and law enforcement interests.  The Committee stands ready to protect those interests and is committed to protecting the American people from these threats, which have the potential to harm critical infrastructure, public health and safety, and our economic and national security. 

Updated December 30, 2021

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