Trump Wants Cyber War With China to Be Won With 5G Network, Leaked Report Says

donald trump 5G AI arms race
Visitors walk past a 5G logo at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on March 1, 2017. 5G is touted by national security officials in the Trump administration as the “first great leap” into the information age. JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has a radical plan to gain an advantage over China in the so-called AI arms race, with a leaked report revealing a roadmap to develop and nationalize an ultrafast 5G network within the next three years.

National security officials in the Trump administration laid out the plans in a PowerPoint presentation and memo obtained by the news website Axios. If successful, the nationwide next-generation 5G mobile network would help protect communications from Chinese spies and other foreign actors.

"China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure," the PowerPoint presentation—titled 'Secure 5G: The Eisenhower National Highway System for the Information Age—obtained by Axios states. "China is the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain."

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AT&T Senior Executive Randall Stephenson (R) explains to President Donald Trump how the 5G will be deployed in cities during the American Leadership in Emerging Technology Event in the East Room of the White House June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

The memo describes the deployment of 5G networks as the "first great leap" into the information age.

"It is a change more like the invention of the Gutenberg Press than the move from 3G to 4G," the memo states. "5G will transform industries by ushering in exponentially expanded system capacity, higher data rates, lower latency, higher reliability, and lower power consumption."

Industry standards for 5G are yet to be set, though experts believe it will be around 100-times faster than current 4G LTE technologies.

Other significant advances include the possibility of something referred to as the Tactile Internet—a technology that could allow haptic interaction with people and objects around the world by transmitting virtual reality data in real time.

Trump announced in December that developing 5G infrastructure would be a priority for the country's national security strategy.

"We will improve America's digital infrastructure by deploying a secure 5G internet capability nationwide," Trump said. "These improvements will increase national competitiveness, benefit the environment, and improve our quality of life."

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"Han the Robot" waits on stage before a discussion about the future of humanity in a demonstration of artificial intelligence at the RISE Technology Conference in Hong Kong on July 12, 2017. ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images

5G is seen as critical for keeping up with China in the artificial intelligence arms race, which the memo compares to the Manhattan Project, the WW2 program to develop an atomic bomb.

"China has assembled the basic components required for winning the AI arms race," the memo states. "Building a nationwide secure 5G network sets the condition for future success in the information domain."

China has previously stated its aim of being the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030, having announced last year an initiative encouraging local tech giants like Alibaba, Tencent Holdings and Baidu to develop AI technologies.

The New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan fits with Washington's view that AI is key for global economic domination and national security.

The quickest way for 5G technology to be adopted in the U.S. would be for the government to build the network itself, the memo argues. Access to the network would then be rented to carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

This is a significant shift from current networks, the infrastructure of which is built by private operators.

Read more: Google tests solar-powered '5G' internet drones

The memo also calls for allies of the United States to also develop and deploy their own 5G networks.

"It is necessary and possible to build a secure, high-performance, world-leading 5G network platform by the end of the first term," the memo states.

"For the greatest effect we must elicit allies to cooperatively build similar networks in their countries and work together to build then in emerging markets."

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