Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement today after House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) identified alleged security lapses at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration's (NASA) Langley Research Center at a press conference.
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Space may be the final frontier, but it is apparently already a target for espionage by the People's Republic of China. The benefit of espionage in this area is not a simple question of who will explore the solar system, but who will have the ability to play a role in the future development of the aerospace industry, and who will have access to technology that may impact the militarization of space.
"Our aerospace sector is a critical component of our manufacturing base, vital to our national and economic security. China's 12th Five-Year Plan clearly outlines plans for developing its aerospace sector and NASA is a prime target of opportunity. Press reports have highlighted increasing cyber-intrusions into our defense contractors and other efforts to penetrate government facilities. Today's information indicates that espionage has not been relegated to just the Internet. Protocols and procedures were not either rigorous enough or not followed, and a thorough review is now necessary.
"USW members make countless products that support the aerospace sector ranging from aluminum, steel and specialty metals to rubber, glass and plastics components. Our future is inextricably linked to the success of this sector.
"Intelligence and industrial espionage has broad ramifications. Chinese hackers, whether government sponsored or otherwise, have targeted some of America's most competitive manufacturing companies. Their objective is to obtain key intellectual property, market plans and other vital information. This information can help spur the further development of their manufacturing sector at the cost of millions of good American jobs.
"America's ingenuity and innovation has fueled the development of our nation's manufacturing base and the growth of the middle class. It is at risk due to China's action plan and its willingness to use both legal and illegal means to achieve its goals."
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. It represents workers employed in the metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil, energy, government and service sectors.
CONTACT: Wayne Ranick: 412-562-2444
Gary Hubbard: 202-256-8125
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)