China Significantly Boosts Size of Navy and Air Force, Downsizes Army

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An airman of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force operates an aircraft during a drill on the second flight training day of the New Year at Liaodong Peninsula on January 3, in Liaoning province, China. (Getty Images)

 

‘Transformational changes’ in military priorities are enhancing Beijing’s ability to flex its muscles far beyond China’s borders.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (pla) is undergoing “transformational changes” to greatly boost the size of its navy and air force and to downsize its land-based army by nearly half, the nation’s official Xinhua news agency said on January 20.

“This new data is unprecedented in the history of the pla,” the agency wrote. As a result of the changes, it said, “the Army now accounts for less than 50 percent of the total number of pla troops; almost half of our noncombatant units have been made redundant.” Continue reading

China Accused Of “Huge Hack” Of Thousands Of European Diplomatic Cables

Step side Russia: the new global hacking bogeyman is now officially China.

Just days after the US accused Beijing of hacking hundreds of millions of Marriott accounts and extracting the private data of countless Americans, even as the ongoing diplomatic feud over Chinese “intermediation” in western communications via the likes of Huawei escalates, moments ago the EU unveiled that China was now also the new Wikileaks, accusing hacker tied to China’s People’s Liberation Army of a “huge hack” of its diplomatic cables and reviving fears about vulnerabilities in the 28-country bloc’s data systems. Continue reading

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

China ASAT Test Part of Growing Space War Threat

Contrails from test of a Chinese anti-satellite missile

 

DNI outlines growing danger to satellites from Beijing’s missiles, lasers and robot spacecraft

China earlier this month conducted the latest flight test of one of its newest and deadliest strategic missiles—the DN-3 anti-satellite interceptor.

The test, as in the past, was masked by the Chinese military as a missile defense interceptor test. American defense officials, however, said the DN-3 is one of several direct ascent anti-satellite missiles capable of destroying most U.S. satellites.

A more significant development was disclosed eight days later through intelligence made public during a Senate hearing: China is moving beyond the testing and development of space weapons and will soon deploy military units dedicated to attacking satellites and conducting space warfare.

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

Russia, China undermining U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a signing ceremony following their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for talks on boosting ties between the two allies. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP) (credit)

 

Russia and China are working against the United States around the world, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report.

“Moscow and Beijing share a common interest in weakening U.S. global influence and are actively cooperating in that regard,” the DIA’s first annual report on Russian military power says.

The military intelligence agency stated in the report made public last month that defense cooperation between Russia and China is slowly expanding along with economic ties. Russian officials, according to the report, frequently praise Russia’s ties with China, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the Beijing-Moscow ties are the closest in a decade. Continue reading

How China’s cyber command is being built to supersede its U.S. military counterpart

Servicemen of the People’s Liberation Army of China during the military parade in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. (Wikicommons)

 

As U.S. leaders contemplate a proper definition for “cyberwar,” their counterparts in China have been building a unit capable of fighting such a large-scale conflict.

China’s rival to U.S. Cyber Command, the ambiguously named Strategic Support Force (SSF), is quietly growing at a time when the country’s sizable military is striving to excel in the digital domain.

Though the American government is widely considered to be one of the premier hacking powers — alongside Israel, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom — China is rapidly catching up by following a drastically different model. Continue reading

PLA’s hacking hotel

American military intelligence has identified a hotel complex that is serving as an ersatz headquarters for a Chinese military hacking unit. China is basically hiding its operations cyberattack units in plain sight.

 

U.S. military intelligence has identified a headquarters for a Chinese military hacking unit — inside two Beijing hotels.

According to an open-source intelligence report produced by the Army’s Asian Studies Detachment, “the Headquarters/Jintang and Seasons Hotel appear to be located in the same or at least adjacent buildings, both of which are, according to available information, owned by or connected to the People’s Liberation Army 4th Department.”

The Fourth Department, known as 4PLA, until recently was part of the military’s General Staff Department and is also known as the Electronic Countermeasures and Radar Department. The unit was reorganized into a new PLA service called the Strategic Support Force. The roll of the department is to conduct offensive electronic warfare and information warfare, including offensive cyberattacks. Continue reading

China Prepares for Anti-Satellite Missile Test

DN-3 test contrails

DN-3 missile spotted preparing for launch

China is preparing to conduct a flight test of a new missile capable of destroying satellites in space, one of Beijing’s most potent asymmetric warfare weapons.

Test preparations for the Dong Neng-3 anti-satellite missile were detected at a military facility in central China, according to Pentagon officials familiar with reports of the impending test. 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 Shenlong space plane is part of growing space warfare program: Gertz

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Illustration of China’s Shenlong ‘Divine Dragon’ space plane

 

China’s military space program is getting a boost from a recent reorganization within the People’s Liberation Army.

A Chinese military expert disclosed earlier this month that a Chinese space plane known as the Shenlong will likely be deployed with the newly formed Strategic Support Force, the PLA’s new high-technology warfare unit. Continue reading