China Developing ‘Digital’ Military Forces

by Matt Klassen on May 30, 2013

Amidst the growing tension between the U.S. and China over the increasing number of cyber-attacks originating from behind the Great Wall, the communist regime has reportedly started to train its forces for the future of digital warfare, scheduled to hold its first ‘digital’ technology military exercises next month.

According to by the state-sponsored news agency Xinhua, the army plans to conduct digital war games in north China’s remote Inner Mongolia region, testing “new types of combat forces including units using digital technology amid efforts to adjust to informationalized war”. [italics mine]

Naturally as China prepares to train soldiers specializing in cyber-warfare it raises questions about the possibility of impending digital conflicts, the damage such conflicts could inflict on all of us, and the preparedness of our own ‘digital’ forces.

“It will be the first time a People’s Liberation Army exercise has focused on combat forces including digitalized units, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces,” the brief official state report explained, no doubt fueling concerns that the latent conflict between communism and capitalism may once again be bubbling to the surface, spawning some sort of new cyber-Cold War.

In fact, while the espionage techniques have changed over that past several decades, the goal seems to be the same, stealing information. To that end, the Pentagon has reported that China’s ultimate goal through this cyber-espionage is to steal the military information necessary to modernize its own forces, pointing to several hacks of key military weapons development programs.

In response, the Obama administration is clearly taking this growing cyber-threat seriously, with the President scheduled to discuss this topic with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a meeting in California next week. This will be a follow-up to the warning the U.S. issued to the Chinese government in March, a response to an unprecedented amount of cyber-espionage that has reportedly been traced back to the communist regime.

As expected, the Chinese governments has denied any and all involvement in this ongoing cyber-espionage, even as the regime continues to beef up its defense forces with the development of air craft carriers and advanced stealth fighters.

So what are we to make of all this? While war is arguably an intrinsic part of our nature, the reason I see this as nothing more than saber-rattling is that there exists a greater drive in our human nature than the drive for war…greed. With the U.S. and China so heavily involved financially—with businesses from each country making money hand-over-fist in the other—I can’t help but think that neither wants to do anything stupid to disrupt that arrangement.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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