字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Tensions between the US and China are on the rise The Pentagon is in a panic about relying on Chinese tech Because the US military depends on China for small drones But the Pentagon has an idea to break its Made in China habit Welcome back to China Uncensored. I'm Chris Chappell. As if China's military build-up in the South China Sea and its constant threats over Taiwan weren't enough to worry about, the Pentagon now has a new cause for concern. No, not giant military cats. Although those are concerning. No, I'm talking about the US military's reliance on Chinese drones. “The idea is for small units on the battlefield, that you have small drones that soldiers can quickly unpack and get in the air,” says Michael Horowitz, a University of Pennsylvania professor. “These quadcopters are also inexpensive enough that if one crashes or you lose one, it's not that big a deal.” The drones we're talking about here are a type of small Unmanned Aerial System—or UAS. This kind. They're used by the US military mostly for reconnaissance missions. But even little drones can be lethal. "All it takes is something literally as simple as this. Here is a device that is built to drop a payload. So this actually hooks onto the sides of this, underneath. And this closes. And all you have to do is, with something less than a hundred bucks, is literally put it on the bottom of this and it allows you to trigger a mechanism that can release a payload." "It can kill somebody but it's not at the lethality that a Hellfire missile would have." But the Pentagon is not so much worried about the Chinese military sending a swarm of drones over to attack the US mainland... since Amazon's already got that covered. No, the Pentagon is worried about the Chinese-made drones that the US government has been buying of its own free will. Specifically, this Chinese technology could potentially have built-in security flaws— designed to give the Chinese military an advantage in case of conflict. For example, a secret piece of code that would send sensitive information to China. According to this 2017 memo, the Department of Defense ordered troops to stop using drones made by Chinese company DJI because of "increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities." According to the memo, DJI was at the time one of the most widely used brands of drones by the US Army. Citing a classified report into “DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities,” the Army ordered troops to “cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure the equipment.” The Pentagon didn't reveal the specifics of the national security threat. And at the time, a DJI company spokesman complained to the BBC that "The US Army has not explained why it suddenly banned the use of DJI drones and components, what 'cyber-vulnerabilities' it is concerned about." Somehow I don't think the cyber-vulnerability was that the drones had too many feelings. But to illustrate the problem, in 2017, “[DJI's] Phantom series of [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles drew] the attention of hackers who've been able to break into and manipulate the drone's GPS software, punching holes in the 'geofences' that sought to keep the drones out of no-fly zones.” Obviously, that hack was not good PR for DJI. So in early 2019, DJI released this video, promoting its new line of drones designed for government use: “DJI has developed a new hardware and software solution that allows government agencies to confidently use drone technology while keeping in accordance with stringent IT and data security requirements. We call it DJI government edition.” I mean, it's essentially the same drone technology, but now with bigger promises. “It actually allows us to tell our clients that all of their telemetry data— meaning where the drone is flying— is stored securely and not shared with anyone but them.” I mean, if DJI got a guy in a Patagonia vest to say it, it must be true. Even if that guy is the CEO of a company that stands to make millions off of helping government agencies implement DJI drones. That video, which is targeted at no...government...in...particular... does aim to address one of the specific concerns that the US government just happens to have: If the US military personnel on covert missions are using DJI drones in secret locations, those missions could be compromised by something as simple as leaked flight logs. Or shutting down a drone in mid-flight. “There are U.S. special operators in Syria using DJI products,” the CEO of Expert Drones told the publication Defense One. “So I get it. I'm glad [the Army is] finally doing something about this.” Because given the growing clarity that China is, in fact, America's chief strategic adversary, being hooked on technology that's made in China may be, well, un-strategic. And there are fears that the Chinese regime is secretly installing backdoors in commercial technology for potential military advantage. And it certainly wouldn't be the first time the Chinese regime has been accused of using seemingly innocuous commercial technology to gain a potential advantage. Huawei. Sorry. I meant “Huawei”. The company that makes knockoff iPhones and 5G technology. The Pentagon's national security concerns about Chinese-made drones were echoed by the Department of Homeland Security in May this year. Which is several months after DJI made that video promising the government edition of their drones is totally secure, there's nothing to worry about. In a notice titled “Chinese Manufactured Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” Homeland Security warned that U.S. officials have “strong concerns about any technology product that takes American data into the territory of an authoritarian state that permits its intelligence services to have unfettered access to that data or otherwise abuses that access.” That being said, it appears the US government *has* given security clearance to the government edition of DJI. And that's probably because there just aren't good alternatives made in America. “[The US doesn't] have much of a small [Unmanned Aerial System] industrial base because DJI dumped so many low-price quadcopters on the market, and we then became dependent on them,” said Ellen Lord, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer, in a recent press conference. So how can the US wean itself off of dependence on Chinese drones? By diving headlong into the world of American tech startups. This fall, the Defense Department is launching something called a “Trusted Capital Marketplace” to connect investors with small tech firms t o boost domestic production of small drones. A kind of Shark Tank, where even the Pentagon itself can be one of the sharks. Although the Pentagon will never be as intimidating as Mark Cuban. “Mark” “What are you doing?” But if you need a million bucks to launch your project of a tiny drone that shoots massive Hellfire missiles, the Pentagon can't wait to hear your pitch. After all, once they have the drone problem solved, they can focus on the real threat. And turn it to their advantage. So what do you think about the US Army's dependence on Chinese drones and its idea to boost domestic manufacturing of Unmanned Aerial Systems? Leave your comments below. And China Uncensored is made possible mainly through viewer support— fans who contribute through the crowdfunding website Patreon. Pledge a dollar or more to support the show. Once again, I'm Chris Chappell. See you next time.