Chinese military boosts hacking

Chinese military boosts hacking
Chinese military boosts hacking

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By Bill Gertz
The Washinton Times
November 2, 2007

HONOLULU =E2=80=94 Senior military commanders at the U.S. Pacific Command here 
said China's recent test of an anti-satellite weapon and increased 
computer-hacking activities prompted increased defenses for U.S. forces 
in the region and in space.

"U.S. space capabilities are an asymmetric advantage that we have to 
maintain," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf, deputy commander of the 
U.S. Pacific Command.

"There has been significant discussion and activity to assess the impact 
of [the anti-satellite test] and other [Chinese] space developments, and 
how to protect our extraordinarily important space capability," he said 
in an interview at the command's headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith.

Pentagon officials have said Chinese military hackers in recent months 
carried out computer-based attacks on Pentagon and U.S. military and 
civilian government computer networks, as well as on foreign government 

Without naming China, Gen. Leaf said the problem of computer attacks is 

"We're very concerned about that =E2=80=94 for the information that may be 
contained on [the networks] or for the activities we conduct that are 
command and control and situational awareness related."

Details of recent computer attacks, including those on Pacific Command 
networks, are classified, Gen. Leaf said. But the issue was raised in 
meetings with Chinese military officials.

"We expect actions that are consistent with the professed desire for a 
peaceful, responsible rise of China as a more significant player on the 
Pacific and world stage," he said.

Chinese military computer attacks "would not be consistent" with 
Beijing's claim to be a peaceful rising power, he said.

Air Force Gen. Paul Hester, commander of U.S. air forces in the Pacific, 
said in a separate interview that China's anti-satellite weapons and 
computer hacking are being watched closely.

"Cyber is a place where we are growing to learn where the dangers are," 
he said in his office at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

Of the January anti-satellite weapons test by China, Gen. Hester said, 
"This new, out-of-the-blue test by China was certainly not expected. 
Does it change the equation? Absolutely. They've demonstrated the 

Gen. Hester said he is concerned that such anti-satellite weapons could 
be used to disrupt U.S. military communications with commanders in Japan 
and South Korea.

"We are focused intently on that to make sure that the assurance of 
satellites and the protection of satellites is robust," he said.

Gen. Leaf also discussed the Pentagon's new "hedge" strategy of 
continuing to engage Beijing but preparing for a war if China turns 
hostile in the future.

"If there is a significant military capability in the region and the 
Chinese have a significant military capability, we cannot allow that or 
any other military capability to outstrip us to the point where we're 
not effective," Gen. Leaf said.

U.S. forces in the Pacific are undergoing a restructuring that includes 
more ships, submarines and bombers at bases at Guam and Hawaii; larger 
military exercises; and closer alliances.

Gen. Leaf said the force restructuring will produce more powerful and 
flexible military forces that also could be used in conflicts in the 
Taiwan Strait or on the Korean Peninsula, adding that "this region 
demands that flexibility."

Gen. Leaf said the Pentagon's military-exchange program with China "has 
not been everything we hoped."

"But we still have found significant value from it in the simple regard 
of building some relationships that will reduce the potential 
misunderstanding," he said.

Gen. Hester also said the risk of a Chinese miscalculation leading to 
war is a concern.

Just as NATO military exercises during the Cold War were meant as a 
signal of strength to the Soviet Union, "from our relationship over 
here, we want to make sure no one miscalculates" by underestimating U.S. 
military strength, Gen. Hester said.

Chinese military visitors have been shown briefings on U.S. and allied 
exercises and the capabilities of the B-2 bombers to help show them who 
we are," Gen. Hester said.

One element of the Pentagon's China hedge strategy is to develop a 
long-range strike bomber that could be used to hit targets deep inside 

Gen. Hester said Pacific Air Forces need the bomber, which could be 
developed and deployed by 2018.

"If, in the most egregious part of our business, which is where you 
shoot at people, or drop bombs on people in anger, then clearly being 
able to carry large payloads, long distances to strike targets in the 
Pacific is very important to me," he said.

Gen. Leaf said the Pacific Command is working very hard to "prevent a 
conflict in the Taiwan Strait" through helping Taiwan bolster its 
military forces.

"In my estimation, Taiwan has, in fact, done reasonably well in 
enhancing their defensive posture" in the past two years, Gen. Leaf 

Tensions will remain between China and Taiwan until the dispute over 
Taiwan's status is resolved. China considers Taiwan, formally known as 
the Republic of China, a breakaway province.

"And I'm not willing to speculate when that will come so for now they 
need [a] properly prepared defensive posture," Gen. Leaf said.

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