Russia’s well-known cyber attacks on Western nations could be setting the country up for a powerful backlash, offers a retired U.S. Army expert formerly based in Moscow. After years of relentless penetrations and attacks on databases and infrastructure in U.S. and NATO countries, Russia now is finding itself as much—if not more—of a target of reciprocal cyber assault capabilities increasingly wielded by the West.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is approaching the future with a wish list connected by the common thread of data. This list includes expected needs in the vast region, but it also features new approaches to maintaining peace and security throughout the region.
This list was offered to luncheon attendees by Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, USA, chief of staff of INDOPACOM, on the third and final day of TechNet Indo-Pacific, held in Honolulu April 11-13. Its theme of “From Data to Dominance” fit perfectly with Gen. Jarrard’s presentation.
The world’s largest ocean, surrounded by dozens of countries, faces threats that ultimately will be resolved by land forces. And these land forces face considerable challenges in which solutions may be defined by technology.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is viewing the Indo-Pacific region with a high level of priority as it modernizes information systems across the defense realm. Two significant adversaries pose serious threats that are technology-oriented, both in terms of advantages and disadvantages, and the agency must address those while replacing outmoded systems.
The U.S. Coast Guard is taking its place alongside the other national security services in cyberspace as it deals with a new mission menu. Its traditional taskings for search and rescue have expanded in scope and complexity, and it also is assuming new operations in an increasingly challenging maritime environment.
Decision superiority is the key to defeating two serious attempts to overturn the international rules-based order, said a U.S. fleet commander. Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, described how the threat is coming from two directions in two different timelines, but both are serious and must be answered with a large-scale approach.
Adm. Paparo’s remarks came in the opening keynote address at TechNet Indo-Pacific, being held in Honolulu April 11-13. With its theme of “From Data to Dominance,” the event emphasized the importance of digital operations in the highly dynamic and challenging Indo-Pacific region.
The Commonwealth of Australia, the sixth largest country in the world, is seeing the geopolitical environment shift in its Indo-Pacific region. As a result, it is bolstering its military and technological capabilities. It is building sovereign capabilities as well as leveraging emerging solutions through its important partnerships, explains Arthur Sinodinos AO, Australia’s ambassador to the United States.
Concern over chip shortages may be drowning out a more significant supply chain threat. The circuit boards on which chips reside may become an endangered species in the United States as manufacturers increasingly rely on offshore sources. This in turn would be as damaging as being unable to obtain chips.
“Chips don’t float,” says William Marsh, president of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America and vice president of government relations for TTM Technologies. “They have to have a home.”
Information operations is one of the critical elements to the U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, Adm. Samuel Paparo, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, told the audience at the WEST 2022 conference and exposition hosted by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute in San Diego February 16-18.
A WEST conference and exhibition panel discussion designed deliberately to be provocative questioned whether the U.S. Navy’s strategy permits the kind of innovation necessary to vie with peer competitors such as China.
Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau, USN (Ret.), president, Naval Postgraduate School, moderated the discussion. The panel also included Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., USN (Ret.), former vice chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Bran Ferren, co-founder and chief creative officer, Applied Minds LLC; and Steve Blank, adjunct professor, Stanford University and senior fellow for innovation, Columbia University.
The United States must abandon ambiguity and declare its intentions to stand up to aggression or face its consequences sooner than many think possible, leading experts say. Their warnings largely concerned the Indo-Pacific region, but the principle can apply worldwide as threats are growing and challenges to peace and security are becoming more overt.
U.S. military officials in the Indo-Pacific region agree that to compete with China, U.S. naval forces should adapt more quickly.
Asked specifically by an audience member at WEST 2022, the conference and exposition hosted by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute in San Diego February 16-18, whether the military is adapting quickly enough for China, multiple members of a panel agreed that the answer is “no.”
Alliances are the greatest strength the United States possesses as it confronts increased tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, said a former combatant commander for that area. And they must be buttressed by unambiguous words and actions by the United States before critical actions erupt.
The U.S. Marine Corps is focusing its activities to support more expeditionary warfare to guard against near-peer adversaries, such as China and Russia. The service’s work is all part of a greater force construction effort, which includes a new infantry battalion construct that leaders are developing to be capable of operating in a more globally distributed fashion in a contested maritime environment. One particular warfighting group that the service is creating is the so-called Marine Littoral Regiment.
The People’s Republic of China is engaging in coercion, lawfare, militarization, human rights violations, imperialism and cyber espionage, say experts. These actions are part of a well-funded and well-organized whole-of-government thrust to be the dominant power in the world, and how the United States addresses these efforts may well determine the status of the world in the 21st century.The threat to the Indo-Pacific region, to the U.S.
In a near-peer environment, the assumption of homeland safety may not be valid. Dangerous capabilities, such as hypersonics, in development by adversaries, call into risk the safety of U.S. facilities. Allies, like those in the Middle East, who face daily threats already have protective measures, suggests Gen. Mark Kelly, USAF, commander, Air Combat Command, or the ACC. China, who is advancing hypersonics and is considered the greatest threat to America, has its own considerable protections.
The general, who spoke during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Aerospace Nation virtual event on October 25, said he would like to see additional defenses for U.S. Air Force bases on the homefront.
The cyber activities of Russia to try and impact the U.S. presidential elections of 2016 and 2020 are well known, spoken about by U.S. military cyber and other leaders. Going forward toward the mid-term election of 2022, the roster of countries attempting to harm U.S. processes is growing, reports Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, commander, U.S. Cyber Command. And the command is already preparing to protect the 2022 elections.
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed off on the U.S. Defense Department’s first-ever strategy for Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, giving his imprimatur to an ambitious vision of a fully networked U.S. military.
JADC2 aims to provide rear-echelon commanders with continuous connectivity to front-line sensors, providing real-time data and offering an unassailable decision advantage to U.S. forces.
On the digitally managed battlefield envisaged by JADC2, autonomous vehicles and networked weapons would be remotely controlled via cloud-based AI-enabled software, so that a coordinated attack by land, sea, air and cyber forces can be launched with the swipe of a finger.
As China continues to threaten U.S. national security through a whole-of-society warfare strategy, a government-private sector partnership must be a fundamental component of the U.S. government’s approach to information advantage and countering China’s attacks.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) will release a new threat-based strategy very soon and is undergoing a reorganization to create a Directorate for Global Integration, says Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, USA, the agency’s director.
“We have some changes at DIA that are cooking right now. The first is a new strategy. That is a strategic approach that includes intelligence advantage, a culture of innovation, allies and partnerships, and an adaptive workforce,” he says.
For 25 years, Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, USN, director, J-2, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has been sounding the warning bell about the government of China and the threat it brings to the world and the United States. The threat is real, and China’s intent is clear, the leader has warned. The United States must now examine the time elements associated with China’s dangerous moves, the intelligence leader says.
NATO is increasing the amount of joint work on command and control (C2) systems as a result of increases in common funding, according to the alliance’s secretary general. Jens Stoltenberg told a media roundtable that “We are on the right track” as the allies are stepping up to meet changing challenges. These efforts include developing an offensive cyber capability and establishing a unified approach to China.
From the virtual realm to zero gravity, China is posing a serious threat to U.S. national security that goes far beyond the Earth. With a strategic thrust designed to buttress and expand the reach of the Chinese Communist Party, the country is engaged in a long march for control that currently includes operations inside the United States as well as in orbit and beyond.
Global changes increasing at an accelerated pace will drive new threats to international security, and some of these are already manifest in the worldscape, according to a pair of just-released U.S. intelligence community forecasts. Yet the diversity of these changes and their possible outcomes offer different potential scenarios ranging from “a renaissance of democracies” to “tragedy and mobilization.”
China’s quest for global dominance is definitive and open, said the director for intelligence (J-2) in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, USN, held little back as he described China’s maneuvering and aggressive tactics as it pursues a long-term strategy of world domination.
The revolutionary advantages offered by defense use of 5G technology could be undone if the United States doesn’t begin now to meet and overcome a set of challenges, said an expert from the National Security Agency (NSA). These challenges range from developing effective security measures to ensuring the supply chain is not contaminated by parts made by foreign adversaries.
Ever since the Sputnik scare of 1957, space has been front and center on the U.S. national security agenda. Successive administrations have highlighted the essential role of space-based capabilities such as GPS, satellite imagery and real-time global communications in undergirding U.S. military power.
China is using the COVID-19 pandemic to progress its goal of global dominance. The adversary is using its vaccination program and assistance to poorer countries in the democratic Western Hemisphere to cement the use of China’s 5G communications and information technology, especially in the Caribbean and Central and South America, leaders say. The problem is that what starts as a veiled commercial interest ends with a significant military application and connection—given that the commercial companies, like Huawei, are all state owned, explained Adm. Craig S. Faller, USN, commander, U.S. Southern Command.
With its rapid-fire information operations campaign, China effectively outguns the United States and its partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region, according to three military officers from the United States and Australia.
The seas of the Indo-Pacific region are an increasingly complex maritime environment. To combat an increase in nefarious activity, protect U.S. economic security and thwart brazen adversaries, the U.S. Coast Guard is adding resources to its operations there, says Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, USCG, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Defense Force West and commander, Pacific Area, presented a keynote address Thursday at AFCEA’s TechNet Indo-Pacific conference.
“The erosion of conventional deterrence vis-à-vis China” is the greatest danger the United States faces in the Indo-Pacific region, says the head of the vast area’s command. Adm. Philip Davidson, USN, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), added that “without a valid and convincing conventional deterrent, China will be emboldened to take action to supplant the established rules-based international order.”
The rise of the People’s Republic China as a peer competitor vying for superpower status has emerged as an important challenge for the United States. To confront this competition, policy and decision makers must preserve and extend U.S. global interests to deter China if necessary and work in the international system in which the United States plays a vital role.
The entire nation must engage in an informed debate about cybersecurity and how to stop the damage being inflicted by adversaries through cyberspace, says the director of intelligence for the U.S. Cyber Command. Brig. Gen. Matteo Martemucci, USAF, J-2 for the U.S. Cyber Command, says this debate must explore whether the roles played in cyber defense stay the way they are or change.
The formation of the U.S. Space Force has led to more advanced cooperation in the space domain with existing and new partners, according to the force’s chief of space operations. Gen. John Raymond, USSF, noted that some nations even followed the U.S. example in giving space an increased priority as a warfighting domain.
Speaking at a Defense Writers Group media roundtable, Gen. Raymond stated that the United States is stronger as a nation with a stable and secure space domain. “The United States is a spacefaring nation, and we’ve long known that access to space and freedom to maneuver in space underpin all the instruments of our national power,” he declared.
The greatest threat the United States faces is through cyber attacks on economic targets, and the worst adversary in this realm is China, according to the director of intelligence for the U.S. Cyber Command. Brig. Gen. Matteo Martemucci, USAF, J-2 for the Cyber Command, declared that China’s pilferage of intellectual property represents a major strike against the United States as part of the Middle Kingdom’s plan for global domination.
Massive amounts of sensitive information on U.S. citizens are being collected, created, shared, bought and sold, and in some cases used as a weapon by the country’s adversaries, according to a panel of experts speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.
The information is gathered and sold by companies such as Facebook and Google and the producers of a wide range of applications, programs and technologies.
Despite attempts from adversaries such as China, Iran and Russia to compromise voting on America’s Election Day, the election system worked well, even with the record levels of voting, reported senior officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). The cybersecurity concerns now move to protecting the final vote counting, canvasing, auditing, certification and inauguration phases.
In its quest for global supremacy, China has overtaken the United States in some areas but remains uncertain of its own position in head-to-head competition. The United States can take advantage of this status, but must be careful of overconfidence.
These were two key points expressed by Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, USN, director of intelligence/J-2, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDO-PACOM). Speaking at a virtual AFCEA Hawaii Chapter luncheon, Adm. Studeman cited these elements as he focused on seven myths about China.
The United States and its great power rivals are taking different paths in their pursuit of artificial intelligence (AI), but all three are devoting significant resources to what they believe will be a game changer. Their uses of AI also are likely to be different, as their approach to ethics varies according to each nation’s principles.
A breakout session panel provided a global view on the race for AI during the third and final day of the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit being held online September 16-18. Panelists assessed the differences in AI research and applications among Russia, China and the United States.
China is steadily pursuing its global goals based on a series of core issues that are not likely to be affected by international actions, said a panel of experts. The United States must take bipartisan actions to boost its own standing relative to China, even if the upcoming election results in a change of parties in the White House come January 2021.
These were among many points introduced by experts in a breakout session during the second day of the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit being held online September 16-18. They assessed China’s activities in and against the United States and recommended some actions to be taken by U.S. leaders.
Just as with terrorism, disinformation can be home-grown and as damaging to a democracy as its foreign counterpart. It will take a partnered effort among all people and elements of a democracy to combat disinformation and restore truth to its mantle of supremacy before the institutions that underpin freedom crumble under the weight of lies and other propaganda. The threat is growing and is widespread, as purveyors of falsehoods adjust their tactics to increase effectiveness.
China’s global moves to gain technological hegemony over 5G and reshape the Internet to suit its own needs offer the potential to give the Middle Kingdom control over the telecommunications market and information itself. At the very least, it would achieve market dominance. But at most, it would control both the nature of the Internet and the information that flows through it, say Internet experts.
U.S. trade secrets are being stolen by Chinese espionage at an alarming rate, and a Justice Department initiative is focusing on stopping the stealing. While cyber espionage is well known and hugely effective, the insider threat has shown to be equally damaging as the Middle Kingdom fuels its economic and military sectors with state-of-the-art U.S. technology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a sweeping effect across the Indo-Pacific region, but ultimately the most disruptive security threat to that vast area may turn out to be China’s strongarm moves against Hong Kong, says the head of the U.S. command for that region. Adm. Phil Davidson, USN, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, specifically cited the Hong Kong crackdown as having a greater effect on security over that hemisphere of the globe.
Last of a multipart series.
The success of China’s foray into Internet control ultimately may be determined by the growth of the Internet itself, according to an Internet expert. While China seeks economic benefit from having its prime technology companies become the providers of choice for Internet customers, it also looks forward to being able to control Internet use outside of its borders. The ongoing evolution of the Internet, particularly its spread into a growing number of devices, may be China’s best asset for realizing its aims.
Threats to global security now include the ongoing pandemic, its exploitation by international malefactors and climate change, according to an ad-hoc group of international defense and national security experts. These experts spent two days brainstorming the future online, and their findings were analyzed by the world’s most well-known artificial intelligence (AI) computer.
Titled “Securing the Post-COVID Future,” the event exchanged ideas among active duty military and civilian expertise with several international organizations. Findings during the 50-hour nonstop event were evaluated by tools from Watson, IBM’s question-answering computer that bested Jeopardy!’s top two champions in a competition a few years ago.
After two years as the commander of the Pacific Air Forces, or PACAF, Gen. Charles Brown Jr., USAF, moves on from guiding airmen and operations in the complicated region. During a time of growing near-peer competition from China, Gen. Brown leaves advice for the new commander of PACAF, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, USAF. Gen. Wilsbach, who also will receive his fourth star, takes the helm at PACAF today.
Previously, Gen. Wilsbach was the commander of the 7th Air Force and the deputy commander of U.S. Forces in Korea.
When asked what advice he would give to the new PACAF commander, Gen. Brown, speaking virtually to AFCEA International’s Hawaii monthly chapter meeting last week, suggested that, “relationships really matter.”
Third of a multipart series.
The seeds of future telecommunications are being planted in China. But the question remains, will they take root globally?
China’s cyber policy has both economic and political sides to it. On the economic side, flooding the global market with subsidized Chinese-made technologies offers the chance for major financial rewards as this equipment and its services become ubiquitous. On the political side, introducing Chinese standards to the Internet and cellular service will give the nation control over both services and data.
Second of a multipart series.
China’s high-technology communications and networking industries are proposing a host of future capabilities to come if vendors cast their lot with companies such as Huawei and ZTE. But these new technologies, once ensconced, would lead their users down a path closed to others and open to Chinese government control, say Internet experts.
First of a multipart series.
The next-generation Internet proposed by Huawei and supported by the Chinese government would provide a platform for revolutionary capabilities while implementing repressive measures that would eliminate today’s open communication. At worst, it would place control of Internet content in the hands of a few masters. But even if it does not subsume the entire Internet, it would cripple the interoperability that has characterized the network’s value as an economic growth engine by creating separate and unequal Internets.