Military Leaders: Ban Buses & Rail Cars from Chinese State-Owned or Controlled Firms

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Aug 29 2019
China’s growing electric vehicle (EV) dominance “threatens American competitiveness and has significant national security implications for the United States,” military leaders told Congress. | Getty Images

Citing national security concerns, 15 senior military veterans tell Congress to enact a ban.

We’ve been sounding the alarm about the risks that come with allowing Chinese government-owned or controlled companies to build U.S. transit systems like rail cars and buses (and with U.S. taxpayer dollars, natch). 

But hey, don’t take it from us. How about you take the word of four Admirals? And 10 Generals? Oh, and also a former Secretary of the Navy?

Fifteen military leaders wrote to the House and Senate armed services committees this week to urge Members to back legislation to ban companies owned or controlled by the Chinese government from building taxpayer-funded rail cars or buses.

The leaders are particularly concerned about China’s growing dominance in the electric vehicle (EV) sector, writing that China “seeks to gain strategic advantages… by providing aggressive government subsidies to Chinese corporations to lower prices to win business, undermining principles of fair competition and competitive markets.”

They continue:

“If China captures the EV market, the United States’ opportunity to enhance energy security by divorcing itself from an unstable global market merely swaps our reliance on one volatile oil market for a dependence on Beijing for our EVs. Moreover, the infiltration of Chinese technology into the EV sector raises substantial cybersecurity risks that may be difficult to assess and address.”

There’s growing concern on Capitol Hill about China’s role in building U.S. transit, and legislation included in the Defense authorization bill (NDAA) passed by both the Senate and the House before the August recess aims to tackle it.

But there’s a key difference between the versions passed by each chamber that needs to be addressed in conference: The Senate version would apply to both rail cars and buses, while the House version only covers rail cars. 

The military leaders urge Congress to move forward with the Senate version. “The relationship between Chinese companies and the Chinese government, is such that Chinese industry is inexorably intertwined with the Chinese government, which creates a host of economic and national security concerns for the US,” they write.

Signers of the letter include John Lehman, who served as Secretary of the Navy under former President Ronald Reagan and also served on the 9/11 Commission. Six Air Force Generals, four Navy Admirals, three Army Generals, and one U.S. Marine Corps. General also signed the letter.

Read the full letter, and tell your Members of Congress to support the Senate version of this vital legislation.