President Donald J. Trump today declared yet another national emergency in the US – this one over the threat of unidentified foreign adversaries exploiting vulnerabilities in IT and telecom systems and services.
Short on specifics, the freshly signed executive order authorizes the Secretary of Commerce "to prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons," the White House said in a statement.
The order has been widely interpreted as the laying of groundwork to prohibit the use of Chinese telecom gear by American companies, particularly kit made by Huawei, already shunned by US government agencies, and ZTE.
Over the coming months, the US Commerce Department, in consultation with other relevant agencies such as the Justice and Treasury Departments, is expected to formulate rules for reviewing IT deals subject to the presidential order.
In other words, the executive order tells other parts of the government to put the wheels in motion.
Earlier today, the Department of Commerce placed Huawei and 70 affiliates on its entity list, which will effectively block the Chinese giant from buying components from American companies without Uncle Sam's approval.