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Adversarial Ears: Where These Capabilities Count

China and the United States run undersea surveillance programs.

The China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSSC) has been reportedly building capabilities to give its navy situational awareness after an official announcement in 2016.

CSSC is a state-owned company that supplies vessels to the People’s Liberation Army Navy, according to its website.

The program has been identified as the Underwater Great Wall by the Maritime National Foundation. It was described as a network of ships and underwater sensors, many focused in the South China Sea.





The program is reportedly under the supervision of the State Oceanic Administration of China, a civilian agency, and would be focused on environmental monitoring. Nevertheless, the country has regularly leveraged corporations and civilian agencies to conduct military intelligence.

“Offshore observation capacity has been lagging behind the country’s development in terms of maritime observation methods, infrastructure and technical support,” Chen Zhi, a Chinese official with the State Oceanic Administration, was quoted as saying in the country’s official press when the program was launched in 2014.

The U.S. Navy operates the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) mission. Its mission is “to support antisubmarine warfare command and tactical forces by detecting, classifying, and providing timely reporting of information on submarines and other contacts of interest,” according to its website.

IUSS is also responsible for providing underwater surveillance to the U.S. armed forces and allies.