News Briefs – March 18, 2019


NATO weighs allegations that Huawei poses security risk

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said March 14 that the military alliance is mulling how to respond to security concerns raised by some member countries about Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Stoltenberg says some of NATO’s 29 allies are uneasy about the potential security challenges of working with Huawei as they consider investment in 5G communications infrastructure.
The United States is lobbying European and other allies to shun the biggest maker of network technology as their phone carriers invest billions in upgrading to next-generation mobile networks.
Huawei rejects accusations that it might facilitate Chinese spying or is controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
Stoltenberg said the issue is being “addressed in many NATO capitals. It is an issue which is partly a trade and economic issue but also has potential security implications.”
“NATO takes these concerns very seriously,” Stoltenberg said. He said the allies “will continue to consult, continue to assess, and look into whether NATO has a role to play.” He refused to speculate about what it might do.
Following Stoltenberg’s remarks, the company issued a statement saying “there is no evidence that Huawei poses any threat to cybersecurity,” and that it is “open for dialogue with anyone who has legitimate concern on cybersecurity.” AP

U.S. suspends some military aid to Guatemala over vehicle use

The U.S. Defense Department has suspended some military aid to Guatemala over questionable use of armored vehicles donated by Washington.
The U.S. Embassy says via text message that since August, Guatemala’s Interior Ministry “has repeatedly used (the vehicles) in an incorrect way.” Therefore Defense “has ceased transfer of equipment and training to the task forces,” which are charged with things like border enforcement and fighting smuggling and crime.
It adds that its future support will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
On Aug. 31, 2018, about a dozen of the vehicles were deployed outside the headquarters of a U.N.-backed anti-corruption commission as President Jimmy Morales announced he would not renew the body’s mandate.
Morales’ government said in a March 14 statement that its security institutions “act in accordance with national law.” AP

U.S. Air Force general picked to lead allied forces in Europe

The Pentagon says President Donald Trump has nominated the top U.S. Air Force general in Europe to be the next Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and head of the U.S. European Command.
If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Tod D. Wolters would succeed Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti.
The announcement was made March 15 by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Shanahan says the NATO alliance has agreed to Wolters’ appointment as the Supreme Allied Commander.
In his other role, as head of the U.S. European Command, Wolter would lead all U.S. forces in Europe.
Wolters received his officer commission in 1982 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is a fighter pilot by training. AP