Biden Grants Defense Contract to Singapore Company With Connections to China (Dreamstime)
By Theodore Bunker | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 12:41 PM
The Biden administration has selected a Singapore-based company that has worked with China’s military industry in the past for a major defense contract alongside the British aerospace company BAE Systems, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
The Free Beacon notes that Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd, or ST Engineering, and BAE Systems have both been selected to construct a prototype land vehicle that’s designed for use in an Arctic environment. The news organization also notes that one of the Singaporean company’s direct subsidiaries, technology company iDirect, provides maritime and satellite technology to Chinese authorities while also servicing the U.S. Defense Department.
"My big worry is from a cyber and counterintelligence perspective," said Mark Vandroff, a member of the National Security Council under former President Donald Trump. "I would worry not only that any collaboration gets back to China, but that [it] also becomes an attractive cyber pathway for exploitation."
iDirect works directly with PetroChina, an energy company that is an arm of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, providing satellite communications. These satellite systems are also equipped by Chinese authorities for use in maritime law enforcement. The company has previously worked with the Chinese automobile company BYD Auto to design autonomous driving systems.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., who chairs the Republican Study Committee, warned in a statement that the Biden administration is "lagging behind geopolitical reality," when it comes to China.
"Since 2015, the Pentagon has officially recognized China as a serious threat to our national security. The federal government needs to quit lagging behind geopolitical reality and ignoring its own national security strategy," Banks said. "We need to start treating China like the existential threat it plainly is. The United States shouldn't be funding Chinese military companies in any way."
In November 2020, a report from the Congressional Research Service concluded that "The U.S. military has long relied upon technological superiority to ensure its dominance in conflict and to underwrite U.S. national security. In recent years, however, technology has both rapidly evolved and rapidly proliferated — largely as a result of advances in the commercial sector."
A spokesperson for the Pentagon, John Supple, told the Free Beacon that the contract for ST Engineering is currently under review.
"We are aware of the claims, and the [Department of Defense] is reviewing the matter," Supple said.
The company recently came in question after it bought out the San Diego-based tech company Cubic Corp., which has multiple U.S. defense contracts.
"Should we raise an eyebrow over a transaction like this? Absolutely," Michael James Barton of cybersecurity consulting company Hyatt Solutions told Inside Sources last month.