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Bipartisan Legislation Looks to Increase Oversight of National Security Consulting Firms to Prevent Chinese, Russian Influence

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Sens. Joni Ernst, Gary Peters and Maggie Hassan have introduced legislation that seeks to prevent China, Russia and other countries of concern from influencing U.S. national security contracting.

The Combating Obstructive National Security Underreporting of Legitimate Threats Act aims to increase oversight of consulting firms and government contractors advising on Chinese and Russian militarization efforts and to streamline government agency policies to bar the organization from national security contracts, Ernst said Wednesday.

Consulting firms would be required to disclose any potential conflict of interest concerning national security and other relevant information with foreign adversarial parties. In addition, these could be used for contract denial or contractor suspension and debarment under the CONSULT Act. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council would also be directed to update federal acquisition regulations.

“America’s adversaries, like China and Russia, are aggressively working against our national security interests; so why then would we allow government contractors closely tied to these adversaries to advise our military and Pentagon officials?” said Ernst. “The U.S. is playing a dangerous game; it’s past time we put safeguards in place to ensure no firms hired by the federal government are working simultaneously to support the agenda of our adversaries like China and Russia.”

The Project on Government Oversight, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Transparency International are some of outside organizations that support the CONSULT Act.