China’s Strategic Force Gears Up for Space and Cyber War

Li Shangfu (3rd left) is seen in this photo

Li Shangfu (3rd left) is seen in this photo / Getty Images

 

NDU report reveals PLA information warfare plans

China’s new Strategic Support Force highlights Beijing’s growing military might and plans to expand both power and influence using space, cyber, and information warfare in both peacetime and a future high-tech war, according to a Pentagon-sponsored study.

The new force, set up in late 2015, is not part of army, navy, air force, or missile force and is directly under the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission, according to a report published this week by the National Defense University. Continue reading

China electronic spying threat

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met last week in Beijing. The delegation traveling on the E-4B plane with Mr. Mattis had to take extraordinary security precautions. (Associated Press) Photo by: Mark Schiefelbein

 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis‘ recent visit to China highlighted the security dangers posed by sophisticated Chinese electronic spying in the capital of Beijing.

Security precautions for those traveling with the defense secretary were extremely tight during his June 26-28 visit.

To prevent Chinese spying through cellphones or laptop computers, the 10 journalists traveling aboard the secretary’s Air Force E-4B nuclear command plane, a militarized Boeing 747, were prohibited from bringing any electronic devices that were taken off the aircraft during the two-day visit back onto the plane. Anything that used wireless connectivity was deemed potentially vulnerable to Chinese hacking. Continue reading

PLA’s new Strategic Support Force remains an enigma

A visitor watches a video of President Xi Jinping talking at an exhibition in Beijing about China’s military achievements, on October 10, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Jason Lee

 

Two years after the People’s Liberation Army created a new Strategic Support Force, a combined cyber and space warfare and military spy service, details about the force’s structure and mission remain wrapped in mystery.

As with most of China’s advanced arms programs and warfighting capabilities, the Strategic Support Force (SSF) remains a closely guarded secret. But the fact that China’s leaders have combined four or five military departments into a service on a par with its army, air force and navy in terms of stature highlights the importance the Chinese have placed on non-kinetic forms of warfare. Continue reading

PLA on cyberwarfare buildup

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Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

 

 

A Chinese military official revealed last month that Beijing plans to rapidly build a new People’s Liberation Army cyberwarfare force in response to U.S. military cyberforces.

Col. Li Minghai of the PLA’s National Defense University wrote in the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times newspaper that a new cyberwarfare force is needed to counter the United States as the Pentagon is building up its cyberattack capabilities.

“It is more necessary for us to build a brand new ‘operation force,’” said Col. Li, identified as deputy director of the NDU’s Center for Cyberspace Security.

As a sign of the sensitivity of the report, Chinese censors quickly removed the posting in Chinese from the Global Times website shortly after it appeared Jan. 21.

Continue reading

Chinese Military Revamps Cyber Warfare, Intelligence Forces

Changes meant to improve PLA high-tech warfighting

A recent Chinese military reorganization is increasing the danger posed by People’s Liberation Army cyber warfare and intelligence units that recently were consolidated into a new Strategic Support Force.

The announcement of the military reorganization made on Dec. 31 by the Chinese government provided few details of what has changed for three military intelligence units formerly under the now-defunct General Staff Department. Continue reading

China’s armed drones appear built from stolen data from US cyber intrusions

China is also using them to engage in the Middle East war.

 

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China’s vibrant military blogosphere presented a video this month revealing a missile-firing unmanned aerial vehicle in action, dropping bombs against ground targets.

The Caihong-4, or CH-4, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a testament to the remarkable success of China’s military in copying vital high-technology weapons that currently are considered among the most cutting edge arms systems used in modern combat operations for both ground strikes and intelligence-gathering. Continue reading

The China Challenge: The weapons the PLA didn’t show

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A Pentagon official said the carefully choreographed military parade through Beijing’s Tiananmen was notable for the weapons that were not shown. They include China’s growing cadre of cyber warfare forces; its ground launched anti-satellite missiles and its new ultra-high-speed maneuvering hypersonic glide vehicle, known as the DF-ZF.

All three programs remain tightly guarded secrets for the Chinese government and details about them are unlikely to be made public any time soon. Continue reading

NSA pinpoints China’s cyberattacks

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A secret National Security Agency document has revealed the massive nature of China’s cyberattacks against the United States, with nearly 700 intrusions in private-sector and government networks.

The cyberattacks were outlined on a map that pinpoints what are described by the electronic spy agency as “victims of Chinese cyber espionage over the past five years.” The map was first disclosed by NBC News.

The locations include Washington and the entire Eastern Seaboard, as well as key areas such as Silicon Valley in California, the locations of U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories, and nuclear missile and military bases. NSA detected the most attacks in California, with numerous strikes. Continue reading

Cyber War Underway

Certainly we hear about eBay being hacked. In fact, it was just revealed that a second security flaw exists. And, we all heard about the Chinese indictments last week. Don’t assume, however, that this means we are on top of the problem. Rather, we (at best) are top of the tip, almost oblivious to the enormous iceberg underneath. This was made plain in recent reporting by Bill Gertz, perhaps America’s preeminent national security reporter. Gertz is the reporter who initially broke the story on my Pentagon findings that there was evidence of financial terrorism at work in the 2008 market collapse. Continue reading