For the last decade, “informatization” of its national civilian and military infrastructure has been a top priority for the People’s Republic of China. The country’s efforts to become a global power in information and communications technology include a focus on signals intelligence. Out of its $150 billion total defense budget, the country is spending an estimated $15 billion on signals intelligence, said David Stupples, professor of electronic and radio systems, City, University of London, at an August 9 Association of Old Crows (AOC) online event.
The days of the United States’ stature as a force without equal appear to be over. The threat of near-peer competition with increasingly sophisticated adversaries is growing. As Secretary of Defense James Mattis says in the National Defense Strategy, "America has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield."
The generation that remembers “duck and cover” also recalls headlines that included the words Soviet Union and impending dangers. Today, a combination of global instability, rising authoritarianism and democracies in retreat may lead to similar yet more dangerous situations, and this time, the headlines also are likely to include the words “People's Republic of China.”
To succeed in the battlespace of the future and to ensure combat superiority over peer adversaries, the U.S. military must be equipped with capabilities to defend information networks in cyberspace and to secure unimpeded access to the electromagnetic spectrum. Adversaries are developing cyber and electronic warfare capabilities to conduct information operations against U.S. systems that will likely threaten the speed and accuracy of military communications, intelligence and data sharing channels, while maliciously altering or stealing the information itself. These capabilities often have complementary effects, which means integrating cyber and electronic warfare could provide a stronger protection and attack capacity for U.S.
Cloud computing, big data and cyber are among the capabilities that pose a major threat to U.S. forces, said Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, Army deputy chief of staff, G-2.
“If you’re a threat actor out there, probably a little bit of investment in these areas is going to go a long way to make life very difficult for your adversaries,” Gen. Berrier told the audience at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference in Springfield, Virginia.
Russia, Iran and North Korea are testing more aggressive cyber attacks against the United States and partner nations, according to the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community delivered to Congress today by Dan Coats, director of national intelligence.
“The use of cyber attacks as a foreign policy tool outside of military conflict has been mostly limited to sporadic lower-level attacks. Russia, Iran and North Korea, however, are testing more aggressive cyber attacks that pose growing threats to the United States and U.S. partners,” the report states.
Not only will the race for AI go to the swiftest, military superiority may follow suit, according to a panel at West 2018 in San Diego on February 8. Hyperwar, or combat waged under the influence of AI, already is beginning to intrude on military operations. And other nations are devoting huge resources to military AI, which may tilt the balance of conflict in favor of them in little more than a decade.
No longer can the U.S. military bank on ensured victories. The battlefield is more lethal and disruptive, is conducted at breakneck speeds and reaches further around the globe. And although fighting terrorism has gripped the military’s focus for the last 16 years, it is the rise of so-called inter-state strategic competition against nations such as China and Russia that will now be the primary concern for U.S. national security.
No longer the wave of the future, quantum communications are here today. China recently launched Micius, the world’s first-ever quantum communications satellite capable of securing transmitted data within a high-dimensional quantum encryption.
This development is a “Wow!” There is no known capability to decrypt quantum encryption. This means no one can hack it until quantum technology reaches a point where technology gurus can think of it as another element within the Internet of Things (IoT).
It is imperative that the United States—government and private companies alike—begin using its inherent innovative spirit to think exponentially and develop technologies that will save time, dollars and lives while defeating the nation's adversaries, said Adm. Harry Harris, USN, commander of U.S. Pacific Command.
Chinese naval forces returned a U.S. Navy underwater, unmanned research vessel on Tuesday, near the location where it was unlawfully seized late last week, according to a U.S. Defense Department statement.
A Chinese military ship seized a U.S. underwater, unmanned research vessel, prompting the U.S. Defense Department to launch “appropriate government-to-government channels” with the Chinese government to immediately return the vessel. On Thursday, China unlawfully seized the unclassified ocean glider while sailing in the South China Sea, according to a Defense Department news release.
The USNS Bowditch and the unmanned underwater vessel (UUV) are used to gather military oceanographic data such as salinity, water temperature and sound speed, the release states.
The vaunted technology edge enjoyed by Western nations risks fading into history because of espionage by nation-states. National competitors and potential adversaries are saving years of research and development and billions of dollars in related expenses by extricating secrets through cyberspace. Both military and commercial organizations are suffering what could amount to devastating losses from opportunistic enemies, and communications and information technologies top the list of desirable targets.
The 80-page summary of China’s recently published five-year plan (5YP) establishes information and communications technology (ICT) as the country’s highest priority. China presents a well-thought-out plan to close the technology gap with the United States and ultimately surpass it. The published text also conveys a sense of urgency. In view of rapid developments in China, attention to its 5YP is well-warranted.
The Chinese Aeronautical Establishment (CAE) and NASA have signed a formal memorandum of understanding to cooperate on advanced air traffic automation. The five-year agreement calls for both groups to share research into realizing more efficient and timely air traffic.
According to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who met with CAE officials on a trip to China in August, China faces a “substantial increase” in air travel in the near future. The joint research will acquire and analyze data from Chinese airports as they deal with increasing traffic. This will help identify potential improved air traffic management practices that would allow air carriers to plan departures better to increase efficiencies.
The Army Materiel Command (AMC) is modernizing and deploying pre-positioned stocks in Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific to ensure the service can rapidly and effectively respond to threats as they occur. Those so-called activity sets include the latest in communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) equipment.
China likely will be one of the United States’ main adversaries—or perhaps more accurately, competitors—in the cyber realm for the foreseeable future. U.S. business leaders may not understand the extent to which attacks against their own corporate networks actually are coordinated efforts by Chinese hackers, Chinese business interests and elements of the Chinese government. Many of the tactics and schemes the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is employing in cyberspace have their basis in history, and some of them are anchored in Chinese philosophy.
China is determined to project power globally by developing homegrown aircraft carriers. After purchasing a surplus Soviet-era aircraft carrier from Russia, China now is striving to establish an indigenous assembly line for carriers and the ships that would constitute a carrier task group.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that neither country will “support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors,” according to a White House announcement released today.
China is flexing its muscles and expanding its reach, particularly in the maritime domain. As the United States tries to consolidate the so-called pivot to Asia by bringing 60 percent of the U.S. fleet to bear, leaders need to be thinking through all their other options to deal with the growing ambition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).