Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order last week blocking government entities from obtaining technology and services from companies owned by, controlled by or located in China “or other foreign countries of concern.”
DeSantis’ executive order, signed on Sept. 22, orders the Department of Management Services (DMS) to promulgate rules and take any additional agency action necessary to “ensure commodities and services used by state and local governments are not susceptible to exploitation by foreign countries of concern,” which includes China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russia and Venezuela.
“Today, I took action to protect Floridians from the bad intentions of adversaries abroad, such as the Chinese Communist Party. This Legislative Session, I am proposing additional protections for our homeland against threats arrayed by those who seek our nation’s downfall,” DeSantis tweeted.
DeSantis’ order quotes the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which stated earlier this year, “China presents the broadest, most active, and persistent cyber espionage threat to U.S. Government and private sector networks.”
The move “will help prevent the exposure of government information and technology services and systems in Florida to other state and non-state actors affiliated with” the countries of concerns, DeSantis said, according to the Washington Examiner.
DMS Secretary Pedro Allende said DeSantis’ plan “will make it harder for bad actors to gain a foothold on state infrastructure, will protect Floridians’ personal information and intellectual property, and will further secure key information systems and the critical infrastructure that our state and its citizens rely on each day.”
DeSantis’ executive order comes as the U.S. has been virtually giving away valuable technology breakthroughs to China at a time when the power struggle between the two countries continues to build. Last week, a private firm’s new intelligence report showed dozens of Chinese nationals who were allowed to work at a top U.S. nuclear research facilities have been recruited to help China develop new missile and drone capabilities since 1987.
The report states that since 1987, 162 Chinese nationals who worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory returned to China. Of that group, 59 were selected for China’s Thousand Talents Program — which recruits international experts to lend their expertise to China.