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Beware China's hi-tech war arms By Saurav Jha,

Discussion in 'China & Asia Pacific' started by zebra7, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. zebra7

    zebra7 Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Beijing could use PLASSF for strategic coercion against India's vulnerable mobile sector.

    China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has not revealed the make-up of its recently constituted PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF), but has nonetheless claimed it to be an example of military innovation that has removed redundancies and synergised disciplines within warfighting domains such as the cyber-electronic warfare (EW) continuum, and space. This ‘integrated’ information warfare force has been set up to aid the PLA’s aim of winning ‘local wars under conditions of informatisation’. This, it is supposed to do by denying the enemy the use of the commons of cyberspace and space while providing support to the PLA for its ‘integrated joint operations’ (IJO).

    By putting the PLASSF directly under the control of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Chinese intend to exercise centralised authority that will prevent unsanctioned endeavours and probably allow them to better shape the behaviour of domestic cyber militias. Indeed, the PLASSF’s agenda is in keeping with the doctrine of ‘unrestricted warfare’, which originally was proposed as a way to defeat a ‘technologically stronger opponent’, but in truth can also be used as a flexible tool for cross-domain escalation against those not quite so. Against India, which has allowed its neglected mobile communications sector to be swamped by Chinese equipment, the PLASSF could well be used as a favoured means of strategic coercion.

    The core of the PLASSF has emerged out of what used to be the erstwhile General Staff Department’s third (3PLA) and fourth (4PLA) departments, responsible for ‘technical reconnaissance’ (TR) and traditional signals intelligence (SIGINT), including computer network exploitation and national-level EW respectively. The 3PLA’s TR bureaus and affiliated institutes have found a home in the PLASSF’s network security department (NSD), which seems to be integrating the disciplines of cyber reconnaissance, attack and defence under a networked information operation force (NIOF). Meanwhile, the 3PLA’s traditional SIGINT function can now work even more closely with elements from the former 4PLA to practise integrated network electronic warfare (INEW). In the Chinese conception, INEW represents a melding of cyber and EW techniques such as counter-electronic intelligence. Closer cooperation between the PLASSF’s NSD and PLA Air Force (PLAAF) & PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) units could also lead to faster disruption or destruction of enemy command and control sites.

    Obviously, INEW extends into space, where satellites today form the backbone of global telecommunications. As such, the PLASSF also boasts an Aerospace Systems Department (ASD) which is now the controlling authority for Chinese military space-related activities including space launch, tracking, spaceborne C4ISR, space-based EW and the development of associated technology.

    Interestingly, the ASD also controls facilities that provide support to PLARF missile testing and training. The former’s military space force (MSF) is likely to be involved in IJOs with the latter to target enemy satellites using direct-ascent anti-satellite systems. The ASD is also overseeing management of the Beidou satellite navigation system, which only reinforces the view that the PLASSF will have a major role to play in supporting Chinese ‘expeditionary’ endeavours into areas such as the Indian Ocean Region.

    Even though the PLASSF is not yet a full service, the fact is, besides fighting for dominance in the ‘new commanding heights of strategic competition’, namely space and cyberspace during wartime, it can also be used as a tool for peacetime blackmail by either imposing or threatening to impose significant costs. With the PLASSF, the CMC probably also seeks to better control Chinese cyber-militias who could well augment PLASSF computer network operations against India at a time of Beijing’s choosing.

    This would be particularly tempting for China given India’s vulnerabilities due to the wholesale import of Chinese equipment by Indian telecom utilities. The recent exfiltration of data from a major mobile service provider portends ill. In fact, China has been cleverly penetrating its equipment into the Indian market even as it has been reducing its own weakness through various localisation regimes, the latest avatar of which is the 2015 ‘cybersecurity’ new regime’ which requires that all foreign firms supplying equipment to Chinese banks may have to share source codes and include cyber ‘back doors’.

    Needless to say, India needs to introduce its own protection schemes at the earliest and indigenise cyber-physical systems on a war footing. Meanwhile, India must also up the cyber ante by ensuring that going past the ‘great firewall of China’ becomes a routine matter. The Chinese see cyberwarfare, and the three warfares of lawfare, media warfare and psychological operations, as a subset of information warfare and are very sensitive to the “content of cyber traffic”. India needs to work on this vulnerability by fusing cultural intelligence with cyber operations and deter the PLASSF’s information warfare (IW) with India’s own IW against it.

    (The writer is a New Delhi-based commentator on security and energy issues)

    source http://www.deccanherald.com/content/638309/beware-chinas-hi-tech-war.html
     
    Angel Eyes, _Anonymous_ and Agent_47 like this.

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