Information Warfare: China Will Outsmart You

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October 27, 2009: China is making no secret of the fact that they intend to rely heavily on Information War in any future conflict. This is reinforced by the extent to which China has been using Internet based espionage to steal military secrets. China is also spending more, than any other nation, to develop ways to control Internet use. Up until now, that has applied  only to Chinese Internet users, but many of those techniques can be used against other nations. Electronic warfare techniques (jamming, confusing and generally nullifying enemy electronic tools), first developed and used during World War II, are being adapted to Chinese needs.

While the details of Chinese military plans are secret, the general strategy isn't. The weapons, equipment and techniques the military uses, as well as discussions in professional journals, makes it clear how the Chinese plan to fight the United States in the next war. That's how many Chinese military experts describe it. The U.S. is the principal foe, and some kind of conflict is inevitable. All that may seem strange to Americans, but for most Chinese, it's just the way it is.

China plans to disrupt the American military, not destroy it. China takes for granted that they will be on the defensive, and forced to deal mainly with American air and naval forces. Methods discussed include attacks via the Internet (hacking and such) and electronic warfare (jamming and deceptions). China has been very active in controlling its domestic Internet users, and an increasing number of hacker attacks on U.S. military targets are being traced back to China. There, the government denies everything. Yet their professional journals talk about all the opportunities in this area. There are similar discussions of electronic warfare opportunities. In addition, the professional journals are full of exhortations to develop insights into the details of how the American armed forces operates, and adapt Chinese tactics to take care of any U.S. weaknesses.

These Chinese efforts are under the control of the highest military leaders and their staffs. All national resources (human and technical) are to be made available for this effort. This stuff is considered very important, and details are hard to come by. But if you look at the history of Information War, you can form some accurate ideas of how it will work.

 This sort of thing is nothing new in the history of warfare, and that's where the Chinese are coming from. The Chinese are big on learning from the past. It has, so to speak, often worked in the past. Chinese troops achieved some success with these traditional deception and Information War methods during the Korean War (1950-53), but their eagerness for outthinking the enemy has not resulted in any major battlefield successes for quite a while. Chinese military commanders are eager to change that. Only an actual war, or another revolution (that reveals their current secrets), will determine if the new methods might work.

 

 


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