Data is arguably the most important strategic asset to emerge in the 21st century. Access to data and the ability to protect its integrity are vital to American security and prosperity. As 5G and artificial intelligence transform our societies into highly integrated networks, protecting data will become even more crucial.
In recent years, American efforts have focused on preventing Huawei, the party-controlled Chinese telecommunications giant, from gaining ground as the world’s largest supplier of 5G infrastructure. But defending a less understood part of our digital infrastructure — undersea fiber-optic cables — should be an equal priority. Without the approximately 750,000 miles of cables that crisscross the world’s oceans, our interconnected, digitally driven societies would be unable to function.