The United States is lagging behind China in promoting its 5G technologies across the world, with officials only just "waking up" to its potential, a former U.S. national security advisor told CNBC Sunday. "In the marketing of it we are behind," General James Jones — who served as an advisor to former President Barack Obama and as supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe during George W. Bush's presidency — told CNBC's Hadley Gamble. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, he said that subsidies from the Chinese government had allowed the Asian nation to get ahead and produce technologies that were cheaper. Superfast 5G mobile internet is expected to revolutionize the digital economy by enabling new technologies such as self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT). Jones said that 5G would be the "most disruptive technology that's going to come our way probably in this century."