Sunday, December 07, 2008
Again! dem Chinese.
As you may already know, the growing strength of China continues to generate new and evermore serious threats to U.S. national interests. According to al Jazeera we have one more reason to worry. The pertinent article, titled, "China 'winning cyber war' US told" expounds on a recently released congressional report which details the reality and strength of Chinese cyber-intelligence operations aimed at the United States. Unsurprisingly, the conclusion of the report enumerates the significant security and economic concerns precipitated by the success of Chinese operations and the exposure of U.S. interests.
To begin, the report examines the staggering exposure of sensitive information vital to U.S. interests. Chinese hacker have successfully penetrated the websites and networks operated by the U.S. government, defense contractors, and private businesses. Obviously, this situation undermines the effective synthesis of intelligence, the successful execution of U.S. intelligence operations, and places the intelligence network and private firms in a strategically weaker position.
Having acknowledged this scenario, the reality of an asymetric advantage for the Chinese becomes ever-larger. With no effective defense in place, and theoretcially all essential/sensitive networks compromised, the United States is in danger of meekly surrendering invaluable strength and influence through a leaking pipe. This loss of control and containment in turn jeopardizes the strength and capabilities of the military, economic, and diplomatic operations of the United States.
In addition, the report contemplates the possibility of U.S. conventional forces being weakened by the effective conduct of Chinese-originated cyber-warfare operations. Porous communication lines as well as compromised schematic and strategic plans would likely mean the loss of effective force projection, mobilization, and implementation. This scenario would be indescribably dangerous to U.S. interests.
In conclusion, the reality of Chinese cyber-warfare capabilities - and their obvious and unabashed commitment to expanding such capabilities - places the U.S. in a critical zone of strategic decision. The U.S. must obviously alter its approach to dealing with this new and increasingly dangerous Chinese capability. However, the challenge is determining whether to devote resources to offense or defense. Does the U.S. attempt to secure an already compromised communication network (which has become indispensable in speed and integration) or does it increase its own capabilities to penetrate Chinese networks, gather intelligence, and perhaps disrupt operations on the other end of the spectrum.