By Josh Rogin
Dec. 1, 2006
China is fielding information warfare units and developing
anti-satellite capabilities aimed at countering U.S. military
technology, according to a U.S. congressional commission.
Chinas cyberwarfare strategy has switched from a defensive to an
offensive posture, with the goal of attacking enemy networks and denying
adversaries access to information, said the U.S.-China Economic and
Security Review Commission (USCC)  in its annual report, released
Nov. 16. Chinese strategy focuses on U.S. systems that perform command
and control or deliver precision weapons, the report states.
China is enhancing its advanced command, control, communications,
computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in
response to U.S. progress. China now has mobile command and control
centers that use wireless and satellite communications to relay
Its very clear from the doctoral writings of the [Peoples Liberation
Army] that they take cyberwarfare as one of the main ways they must be
ready to attack the United States, said USCC Chairman Larry Wortzel in
an interview. Their overall doctrine holds that a modern war in the 21st
century involves cyberwarfare, electronic attack and warfare in space.
The PLA has an extensive cyberwarfare infrastructure, including its own
engineering and electronic warfare schools and cyberwarfare regiments,
Wortzel said. China may be a potential or latent military threat, but
the cyberwar is on, he said.
The PLA is using private-sector expertise to maximize their efforts. But
the army often uses shady tactics to procure military assets, according
to the commission.
To bolster its armed forces and their capabilities, China makes
concerted efforts to obtain foreign military and military-related goods
and technologies, and tries to acquire these through legal and illegal
means, including espionage, the report states.
An attack traced back to a Chinese server compromised a network at the
Commerce Departments Bureau of Industry and Security last month. The
bureau was forced to replace hundreds of computers. Part of its
responsibility is to determine restrictions on technology exports to
In May, four Chinese Americans were convicted of illegally exporting
sensitive technology to a Chinese research institution, including
components used in radar and electronic warfare. These technologies
could then be exported to other hostile states or terrorist
organizations, the commission said.
The commission recommends Congress investigate the federal procurement
process to ensure computer security. Also, it said that because more
computer components are manufactured in China, there is a risk of supply
disruption if political unrest there increases.
The Defense Departments 2006 annual report to Congress on Chinese
military power states that the PLA is developing information warfare
reserves and militia units and has begun incorporating them into broader
exercises and training. Also, China is developing the ability to launch
pre-emptive attacks against enemy computer networks in a crisis, it
The PLA seeks to combine computer network operations with electronic
warfare, kinetic strikes against C4 nodes and virus attacks on enemy
systems, to form what PLA theorists call Integrated Network Electronic
Warfare, the report states.
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