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Keeping important technologies under British (and Western in general) control

Yokel

LE
Used to be called the X List.

Maybe it still is.

Yes - List X. But any List X company will depend on non List X subcontractors, and the hostile intelligence agency or troublemaking media type can probably work out who they are, and take advantage of lower levels of security to determine things such as physical size, bandwidth, power level and start to make intelligent guesses.

Alternatively interfering with things like CADCAM data would cause chaos.
 
When you're competing on price, ethics go out the window for many.

'China has boasted the world’s second-largest arms-manufacturing industry for the past five years, ranking behind the U.S. in sales but outstripping Russia and the top European nations, according to a report released Sunday by a Swedish think tank.

'In its annual study of arms sales, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) for the first time released figures for individual Chinese defense firms. The study found that sales of arms and military services by the global sector’s 25 largest companies for which data are available totaled $361 billion last year, an 8.5% increase over 2018. SIPRI is an independent arms-trade analyst. Among those companies, four are Chinese and 12 are American. Those Chinese companies had combined sales of $56.7 billion in 2019, compared with $221.2 billion from the U.S. companies. Two of the top 25 firms are Russian, with combined sales of $13.9 billion.

SIPRI figures showed that revenues for Chinese defense manufacturers have failed to keep pace with the global growth, with the top four Chinese firms growing by 4.8% last year. However, SIPRI’s data on Chinese firms excludes inaccessible sales figures from major companies in missile manufacturing and shipbuilding. “Those with access to additional data likely see even greater [People’s Republic of China] arms-sales activity,” said Andrew Erickson, a professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College. “After all, China already enjoys the world’s second-largest defense spending by any measure and is pursuing rapid military development and expansion of influence.”

'The China Electronics Technology Group Corp., which has been caught in China’s trade war with the U.S., saw its sales increase 11% last year, attributable to Beijing’s effort to limit its dependence on foreign suppliers of electronics, said Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, the study’s lead researcher. Sales for China’s top-ranked defense manufacturer for the last four years, aerospace firm Aviation Industry Corp. of China, increased by 0.8% in 2019, while China North Industries Group Corp., China’s largest producer of tanks and armored vehicles, had a 0.3% decrease. “This is in line with the Chinese government’s military priorities,” Ms. Béraud-Sudreau said. “They are developing their aerospace and maritime programs, and tanks and military vehicles are less of a priority.”

'While the Chinese state is the top client of the Chinese defense industry, Chinese defense exports rose 38% between 2008 and 2017, second only to Israel, according to an earlier SIPRI report, despite its inability to offer a Western standard of sophistication and aftermarket servicing, Mr. Erickson said. Internationally, China tends to compete on price, while taking advantage of market irregularities—providing aerial drones, for example, to countries to which Western countries have agreed not to sell, said Mr. Erickson.'


Chinese Arms Industry Ranks Second Behind U.S., Report Says
 

Yokel

LE
US warns of investment into Chinese military firms - Janes

The US State Department has warned of continuing US investment into Chinese companies that it says are linked to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The State Department said in a recently published ‘fact sheet’ that the “Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) threat to American national security extends into our financial markets and impacts American investors”.

It went on to claim that “many” international stock and bond indices include Chinese companies that are “listed on the US Department of Commerce’s entity list and/or the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) list of Communist Chinese military companies”.

The entity list identifies firms that are prohibited from involvement in the export, re-export, or in-country transfers of US dual-use technologies without Department of Commerce authorisation. The DoD’s list of ‘Communist Chinese military companies’ identifies firms that US companies are barred from investing in.

The ‘fact sheet’ went on to claim that US investments into companies through indices are supporting Chinese military developments. “The money flowing into these index funds – often passively, from US retail investors – supports Chinese companies involved in both civilian and military production,” it said.

The ‘fact sheet’ went on to state that as of December 2020 at least 24 of the 35 firms identified in the list of Communist Chinese military companies “had affiliates’ securities included on a major securities index”. It added, “This includes at least 71 distinct affiliate-level securities issuers.”

The Department of State added that there are also at least 13 Chinese companies presently on the ‘entity list’, whose parent company or affiliates are included in the major global indices.
 

Yokel

LE
US Expands Export Restrictions of Technology to Chinese Shipbuilders

The U.S. Commerce Department announced new trade enforcement actions against Chinese companies as part of the Trump administration’s disputes with China over its human rights abuses, actions in the South China Sea, and use of U.S. technology. Among the 77 companies being added to the “Entity List” that limits exports to the companies are the Chinese semiconductor industry and an expansion of the listed companies in the shipbuilding industry.

“These seventy-seven entities have been determined by the U.S. Government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” the statement said in releasing the list which will be entered into the Federal Register on December 22. Inclusion on the list imposes export license requirements, and limits the availability of most license exceptions, to the companies. The export license requirements are on goods, software, and technology made in the U.S. or containing substantial portions of U.S.-origin technology.

Among the companies to be included in the latest revision of the list are Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation Incorporated (SMIC) added for its support of the Chinese military. The list also expands the scope of the limits placed on China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), the world's largest commercial shipbuilder and China's primary naval shipbuilder, targeting its research activities for acquiring and attempting to acquire U.S. technology in support of programs for the People’s Liberation Army.

Other restrictions that will also impact the maritime community include China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the world's largest port construction and dredging company, for its efforts enabling China to reclaim and militarize disputed outposts in the South China Sea. The list also cites a range of other companies in Chinese shipbuilding and construction, including Chongqing Chuandong Shipbuilding, CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding, Guangxin Shipbuilding, and Guangzhou Taicheng Shipbuilding, for their involvement in China’s efforts in the South China Sea.

Commenting on the latest efforts, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cited China’s militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea, unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, and intimidation and coercion of other coastal states lawfully accessing and developing offshore marine resources. He also singled out China’s campaign of malign technology acquisition efforts, including for theft of U.S. trade secrets, and the support of research and development, and production of advanced weapons systems.

The latest round of sanctions builds on efforts the Trump administration launched in August. During the summer, CCCC and CSSC were also cited for their actions in support of China’s efforts in the South China Sea. The Trump administration also issued an executive order prohibiting Americans from buying or holding stock in 31 Chinese firms with military ties. Issued in November, that order also included China State Shipbuilding Corporation and China Communications Construction Corporation, among others.
 

Yokel

LE
I hope the Daily Mail is being alarmist (its what they do) - but WTF?

Story about Ultracold Quantum Technology being shared with the Chinese state

A laboratory at Oxford University – part-funded by the MoD via the top-secret institution based at Porton Down – has nurtured a crucial link with a Chinese military university and passed on our knowledge.

Beijing helped fund the Ultracold Quantum Matter lab through a university controlled by the Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army.

That college – the National University of Defence Technology in the city of Changsha – happens to be the main training provider for China’s spies.

Yet for five years, Oxford trained and nurtured a Chinese doctoral student who had graduated from another military university and was being funded by the NUDT.

He enjoyed access to the lab’s most advanced projects, and organised two ‘workshops’ in Oxford where his colleagues from China were briefed on the latest progress in this highly sensitive field of physics.

It’s a classic example of how China has for years subtly exploited the naivety of Western democracies to gain influence – and to steal and spy on our technology. Oxford sources insist their lab’s work was peaceful.

But senior Whitehall sources were deeply concerned because advances in quantum technology will always have a ‘dual use’, and be just as valuable to the military.

Now, the Daily Mail has learnt, Oxford’s link with the NUDT and China’s military has been severed – following an intervention ‘at the highest level’ by security officials, horrified at the damage that may have been done. This week, the case was discussed by ministers.


Hat tip to @medwaymud - who posted it on the MI5 thread in current affairs.
 
I hope the Daily Mail is being alarmist (its what they do) - but WTF?

Story about Ultracold Quantum Technology being shared with the Chinese state

A laboratory at Oxford University – part-funded by the MoD via the top-secret institution based at Porton Down – has nurtured a crucial link with a Chinese military university and passed on our knowledge.

Beijing helped fund the Ultracold Quantum Matter lab through a university controlled by the Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army.

That college – the National University of Defence Technology in the city of Changsha – happens to be the main training provider for China’s spies.

Yet for five years, Oxford trained and nurtured a Chinese doctoral student who had graduated from another military university and was being funded by the NUDT.

He enjoyed access to the lab’s most advanced projects, and organised two ‘workshops’ in Oxford where his colleagues from China were briefed on the latest progress in this highly sensitive field of physics.

It’s a classic example of how China has for years subtly exploited the naivety of Western democracies to gain influence – and to steal and spy on our technology. Oxford sources insist their lab’s work was peaceful.

But senior Whitehall sources were deeply concerned because advances in quantum technology will always have a ‘dual use’, and be just as valuable to the military.

Now, the Daily Mail has learnt, Oxford’s link with the NUDT and China’s military has been severed – following an intervention ‘at the highest level’ by security officials, horrified at the damage that may have been done. This week, the case was discussed by ministers.


Hat tip to @medwaymud - who posted it on the MI5 thread in current affairs.
Oh look, we can get some funding... Will they ever learn? About that stable door... Oops. Yet again.
 

Yokel

LE
I have always wondered why everyone focusses on KNOWN threats, naively assuming they can foresee the future, instead of known interest and vulnerabilities.

You probably do not know any car thieves - but you still lock it. You probably do not know any burglars either - but you still lock the doors.

Quoting myself from that thread: The biggest threat to security is the common perception that no such threat exists.
 

Yokel

LE
It seems that my list of critical technology areas is not entirely different from that suggested by the boss of NATO:

We are also bolstering the resilience of our critical infrastructure — power grids, ports, airports, roads, railways and telecommunication systems, including 5G. And NATO will continue to strengthen our resilience requirements, encouraging allies to conduct thorough risk and vulnerability assessments, including to map foreign ownership, control or direct investment.
 

Yokel

LE
US War Surge Production Too Slow, CSIS Finds

The United States could not make enough military equipment fast enough to sustain its military in the event of a major war. While much thought has been given to how a great power conflict might erupt or play out, far less has been written on how the U.S. industrial base could sustain U.S. wartime equipment losses in such a conflict.

Our study at the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that it would take many years to replace current inventories, even at surge production rates. And the situation is not getting better as industry consolidation has squeezed out excess capacity. The Navy would probably face the biggest problem. Each ship lost would be, effectively, irreplaceable during the conflict. The Defense Department would be well advised to make some modest investments to hedge against a protracted great power conflict.

Interest in Industrial Surge Is Back

During the Cold War, industrial surge was a key element of US defense strategy because a conflict with the Soviet Union would consume enormous amounts of equipment and might go on for a long time. With the end of the Cold War, that concern vanished. Instead, attention turned to regional conflicts, such as battle against Iraq or North Korea. Although these conflicts would be intense, they were not expected to last long. Maintaining excess capacity for industrial surge looked like an unnecessary expense.

Now interest in industrial surge has returned. The 2017 National Security Strategy criticizes the notion that “all wars would be fought and won quickly, from standoff distances and with minimal casualties.” The Trump administration’s seminal 2018 National Defense Strategy focused on great power conflict, and the Biden administration will almost certainly do the same.

 
US War Surge Production Too Slow, CSIS Finds

The United States could not make enough military equipment fast enough to sustain its military in the event of a major war. While much thought has been given to how a great power conflict might erupt or play out, far less has been written on how the U.S. industrial base could sustain U.S. wartime equipment losses in such a conflict.

Our study at the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that it would take many years to replace current inventories, even at surge production rates. And the situation is not getting better as industry consolidation has squeezed out excess capacity. The Navy would probably face the biggest problem. Each ship lost would be, effectively, irreplaceable during the conflict. The Defense Department would be well advised to make some modest investments to hedge against a protracted great power conflict.

Interest in Industrial Surge Is Back

During the Cold War, industrial surge was a key element of US defense strategy because a conflict with the Soviet Union would consume enormous amounts of equipment and might go on for a long time. With the end of the Cold War, that concern vanished. Instead, attention turned to regional conflicts, such as battle against Iraq or North Korea. Although these conflicts would be intense, they were not expected to last long. Maintaining excess capacity for industrial surge looked like an unnecessary expense.

Now interest in industrial surge has returned. The 2017 National Security Strategy criticizes the notion that “all wars would be fought and won quickly, from standoff distances and with minimal casualties.” The Trump administration’s seminal 2018 National Defense Strategy focused on great power conflict, and the Biden administration will almost certainly do the same.
A lot of WWII military equipment was based on modified civilian hardware or used production methods that were used in civilian factories. That isn't the case for many things these days, as a lot of military kit uses exotic materials or processes in order to squeeze a bit more performance out. They aren't designed for manufacture by civilian industry.

That isn't going to change unless the equipment is explicitly designed for manufacture by civilian industry.
 

Yokel

LE
I would also point to Britain's response to the sudden need for a massive increase in demand for medical ventilators. It was not new designs that were used, nor things invented in sheds, but existing designs produced en massed by established engineering companies.

Surging production would mean outsourcing, and accepting disruption to the normal economy. Reshoring manufacturing activities back to the West will help.
 
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I would also point to Britain's response to the sudden need for a massive increase in demand for medical ventilators. It was not new designs that were used, nor things invented in sheds, but existing designs produced en massed by established engineering companies.

Surging production would mean outsourcing, and accepting disruption to the normal economy. Reshoring manufacturing activities back to the West will help.


The manufacturing might be based in the West but where are the sub-assemblies and raw materials sourced?
 

Yokel

LE

The manufacturing might be based in the West but where are the sub-assemblies and raw materials sourced?

As I understand it the new designs by Dyson and GTech, and the new specs were throw out, and existing designs from established manufacturers were used. The likes of BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, JCB, McLaren and others were used to produce them in far higher numbers than normal.

Hopefully all sub assembly and component manufacture was up to scratch. I expect that quality standards exist for medical equipment that go beyond ISO 9001.

One company that was involved is near(ish) me - sadly not my employer though - is Graphic PLC.

The Government recently announced the Ventilator Challenge, UK. They have asked British Industry to facilitate the production of over 30,000 medical ventilator machines in just a few short weeks. Key industry players such as Dyson, Formula One, BAE, Ford Motors and Airbus are included within in the selected firms who are taking part in the scheme. Alongside this many of our own customers outside of this list are playing vital roles with the manufacture of parts and supporting assembly of vital medical technology.

Graphic PLC are proud to be stepping up and supporting the government’s call to make NHS ventilators and other medical equipment, by manufacturing critically required Printed Circuit Boards, from our 24 hour PCB facility, in Devon.


These medical orders are given top priority by our highly skilled workforce, with many of the pre-production orders manufactured in under 24 hours! The first of these deliveries has already been produced and assembled by the end customer.

It is a great opportunity for Graphic, to highlight our exceptional service and capabilities whilst helping to win the fight against COVID-19.

A big thank you to all of our Graphic Team, Customers and Suppliers at this difficult, unprecedented time – your co-operation, support and understanding is very much appreciated.

Graphic will continue to work throughout the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, supporting the fight against COVID-19.

Stay Safe.
 

The manufacturing might be based in the West but where are the sub-assemblies and raw materials sourced?
"
Alison Pittard, the dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, the professional body for intensive care practitioners, said the government’s request for ventilators that would — at a minimum — stabilise patients “for a few hours” was not in line with what was requested by medical experts last month."

Specification for Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS)

"1) Must be reliable. RMVS must be capable of continuous operation (100% duty cycle) for 14 days.

2) Should be capable of operation continuously for more than 14 days. The expected durability must be specified."

 

Yokel

LE
"
Alison Pittard, the dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, the professional body for intensive care practitioners, said the government’s request for ventilators that would — at a minimum — stabilise patients “for a few hours” was not in line with what was requested by medical experts last month."

Specification for Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS)

"1) Must be reliable. RMVS must be capable of continuous operation (100% duty cycle) for 14 days.

2) Should be capable of operation continuously for more than 14 days. The expected durability must be specified."


Hence the new specifications were committed to the shredder, and engineering companies worked on mass production of existing designs from the normal manufacturers. See my above post.
 
"
Alison Pittard, the dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, the professional body for intensive care practitioners, said the government’s request for ventilators that would — at a minimum — stabilise patients “for a few hours” was not in line with what was requested by medical experts last month."

Specification for Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS)

"1) Must be reliable. RMVS must be capable of continuous operation (100% duty cycle) for 14 days.

2) Should be capable of operation continuously for more than 14 days. The expected durability must be specified."

The spec wasn’t fit for purpose
 
The spec wasn’t fit for purpose
"stabilise for a few hours" isn't fit for purpose. But that doesn't seem to be the spec that the government released about a month before the article was written (where it asks for 14 days min run time). or, if you prefer, just after the "early march" that "Dr Pittard, … advised on minimum specifications for ventilators"
 

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