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).
China is introducing designs for catamarans—and even trimarans—that seem destined to serve as the country’s littoral combat ships. Some of the trimarans closely resemble their U.S. counterparts, although differences—some quite interesting—do exist.
While infocentric nations and military forces focus on the threat to their systems from malware-wielding cyber attackers, a significant danger to cyberspace may come from outer space in the form of kinetic weapons that attack vital satellites. A great number of the tactical and strategic military systems that all major, and many minor, powers use 24 hours a day rely on satellites for vital input data. Also, nearly all satellites have dual civilian and military modes, and all nations and businesses would be impacted by any loss of the vital satellites.
Many of the lines that have defined defense intelligence are blurring to the point where divisions may actually disappear. These distinctions range from areas of operation to types of intelligence products, and this trend offers profound implications for the future of intelligence.
Rear Adm. Paul Becker, USN, director for intelligence (J-2), the Joint Staff, described these changes redefining defense intelligence at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit 2014, held September 18-19 in Washington, D.C. Adm. Becker stated that the linkage between domestic intelligence and foreign intelligence is withering.
Among the many perils faced by the United States, space and cyberspace pose some of the greatest challenges. And, there is no public wave of awareness or demand for action looming on the horizon, to the detriment of the nation.
Brig. Gen. Mark W. Gillette, USA, has been assigned defense attaché-China, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, China.
As the People’s Republic of China grows in economic and military stature, it is generating ill will among neighbors who increasingly fear an expansionist budding superpower. Ironically, the greatest effect this is having on the Asia-Pacific region is that it is driving many nations into the arms of the United States.
This was just one of many observations offered by a panel on China at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. A mix of academics and military officers offered different perspectives on where China might be headed in the coming years.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is serving as the primary vehicle to extend China’s influence deeper away from its borders. New and improved capabilities have transformed the navy into a force that can take on increasingly complex and distant military roles.
“The PLAN is at the tip of the Chinese spear,” said Dr. David M. Finkelstein, vice president and director, China studies, Center for Naval Analyses. Finkelstein was moderating a panel on the Chinese navy at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Other panelists offered their own assessments of the PLAN and its role in Chinese foreign affairs.
China and the United States are plagued by a "strategic mistrust" that hinders relations between the two. That statement was made by Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret.), former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, in a panel discussion with Dr. Xinjun Zhang, associate professor of public international law, Tsinghua University, Beijing, that was moderated by former Good Morning America host David Hartman. To the audience, that strategic mistrust was evident in the exchange of comments between Zhang and Adm. Keating throughout the panel. Both expressed their country's points of view in direct opposition to each other's.
The dynamic modernization of China's economy and society may owe more to momentum than careful planning. Dr. Xinjun Zhang, associate professor of public international law, Tsinghua University, Beijing, offered that he believes that China does not have a vision guiding the massive changes that define China today. Zhang offered that China's current policies have emerged from Deng Xiaoping's approaches, which he implied were a bit too pragmatic. Speaking at a policy panel that included former U.S. Pacific Command head Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret), and moderated by former Good Morning America host David Hartman, Zhang said a lack of vision has plagued much of Chinese policy.
In the emerging global landscape, it seems increasingly clear to many that China's catapult to power will bring more challenges for international security to the surface. Dr. Patrick Cronin, senior adviser and senior director, Asia-Pacific Security Program Center for a New American Security, said that China has focused on an asymmetrical rise to power using cyber warfare-hacking without precedent in the world of espionage. Joe Purser, director, Joint Futures Group, U.S. Joint Forces Command, added that China has changed more in the past 40 years than any other nation in the world.
China and the United States are constantly redefining their relationship in a dynamic that could lead to conflict if both sides are not careful, according to a leading U.S. Asia-Pacific expert. Dr. Denny Roy, senior fellow and supervisor of POSCO Fellowship Program, East-West Center, warned that the evolution of this relationship matches past patterns that have led to confrontation. Speaking in a panel on the Pacific Rim at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2009, being held in Honolulu, Hawaii November 2-5, Roy said that the implications of the rise of China are extremely profound.