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Feb. 28, 2013
Notes from the Pentagon

Chinese pressure points
China’s military fears a major cyberattack against its strategic forces, and communist leaders also worry about cyberstrikes against infrastructure, according to Michael Pillsbury, a former Reagan administration defense-planning chief.

A devastating cyberattack on its military or civilian infrastructure is one of Beijing’s 16 strategic fears, according to Mr. Pillsbury, writing in a recent issue of the bimonthly journal “Survival.”

The analysis is the first public account on Chinese strategic thinking.

Defense and intelligence officials say the list of China’s fears represents potential pressure points for the United States to exploit in targeting China, if Beijing continues its current aggressive behavior. That troubling behavior includes increased coercion and threats against most Asian nations and notably large-scale cyberattacks of its own.

A report by security company Mandiant Corp., made public last week, revealed that a Chinese military unit in Shanghai appears to have been engaged for years in a massive cyberespionage campaign against U.S. government and private-sector networks. The report said China has obtained large amounts of valuable information from the cyberspying operations.

China’s military denounced the report, and its military newspapers said the Pentagon wants to control the world through cyberspace power.

The U.S. government reportedly was behind several cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program, including the Stuxnet virus that disrupted centrifuges used by Iran to enrich uranium in violation of U.N. sanctions.

Mr. Pillsbury, a Pentagon consultant now with the Hudson Institute, stated that the Chinese believe their information networks — the cornerstone of Beijing’s large-scale, high-tech military buildup — are vulnerable to attack.

The study is based on Chinese military writings that reveal numerous risks to Chinese networks, including the danger of information leaks and the inability to protect networks.

The Chinese are concerned about the vulnerabilities of their strategic nuclear forces that could be attacked by special-operations commandos, electronic jamming or precision missile strikes.

“The fears of the 2nd Artillery Corps, China’s strategic missile force, are revealed in reports published by China’s Rocket Force News that training exercises have emphasized strategies to counter air attacks, attacks by special forces, electromagnetic jamming, live-troop reconnaissance, and network attacks using hackers and computer viruses,” Mr. Pillsbury said.

China’s strategic missile forces in 2006 conducted a training exercise involving enemy forces using electronic jamming against a command post.

As reported by Inside the Ring in August, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air ForceGen. C. Robert Kehler, suggested that U.S. military forces are prepared to engage in offensive cyberattacks against foreign nuclear capabilities.

Such attacks — whether in North Korea, China, Russia or a future nuclear-armed Iran — remain a high-priority target, defense sources have said.

The communist government also fears the Internet.

“Chinese authorities are concerned that the Internet could turn the population against them and consequently feel a need to protect ‘China’s psychological space,’” Mr. Pillsbury stated.

The Pentagon this week identified the place in Japan where it will deploy a new high-powered missile-defense radar.

A defense official confirmed to Inside the Ring that the second X-band radar used in tracking and shooting down missiles will be located at the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces’ base near Kyotango. The base is about 65 miles northeast of the ancient capital of Kyoto.

The TPY-2 system uses a high-resolution, phased-array X-band radar to detect missiles shortly after launch. It can then transfer the data to missile-defense interceptor systems based on the ground or on Aegis ships carrying interceptor missiles.

The new radar was announced in September as part of efforts to increase cooperation with Japan on missile defense.

“The focus of this is to enhance our ability to defend Japan,” then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said. “It’s also designed to help forward-deployed U.S. forces, and it also will be effective in protecting the U.S. homeland from the North Korean ballistic missile threat.”

North Korea denounced the radar plan, saying it would escalate tensions.

Unmentioned by Mr. Panetta at the time is the radar’s utility in countering China’s growing missile threat.

China, through its official think tanks, criticized the new X-band radar as promoting Japanese aggressiveness.

Adding a second X-band radar in Japan will increase regional missile-defense coverage over large areas of the western Pacific by overlapping radar beams from another U.S. radar in Japan. It also will relieve missile-shooting Aegis ships from having to provide radar coverage.

China recently stepped up missile deployments along the coast near the Senkaku islands, a defense official said. The uninhabited islands are the center of a major dispute between Tokyo and Beijing as they sit atop large undersea oil and gas deposits.a Tensions were heightened earlier this month when a Chinese warship used a targeting radar to illuminate a Japanese coast guard ship.

The first radar is on the Shariki Air Self Defense Force base in northern Japan.

State Department spokesmen are keeping secret all details of Tuesday’s meeting between Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

However, a Russian press report Tuesday said Washington and Moscow are preparing an exchange of presidential declarations limiting U.S. missile defenses in Europe — a key Moscow demand for further strategic arms talks and one rejected in the past by the Obama administration.

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper quoted unidentified Russian officials as saying the exchange would call for cooperation on European missile defenses and pledges that U.S. defenses would not be used to target Russian strategic missiles.

Other arms-control steps could include confidence-building measures, such as information exchanges, bilateral research and threat assessments.

The report is likely to increase worries among Republicans in Congress about President Obama’s now-infamous private promise last March to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” on a missile-defense agreement with Russia after his re-election.

The president has never fully explained what concessions he was prepared to make on missile defenses, and no reporter has yet to question him about the unusual promise to a foreign leader.

Asked about the Kommersant report, State Department spokesman Jonathan Lalley declined to comment beyond a statement issued Tuesday on the Kerry-Lavrov meeting. The hour and 45 minute meeting “covered the full range of bilateral issues,” mainly Syria, the statement said.

Mr. Lavrov told reporters “there are no grounds for such reports” of a deal on missile defense.

The recent nomination hearing of John O. Brennan to be director of the CIA revealed publicly for the first time a key limit of congressional oversight of intelligence: Raw intelligence is kept from Congress.

Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, raised the issue with Mr. Brennan and sought unsuccessfully to get a promise from the nominee to provide raw, unanalyzed intelligence from time to time.

“Most, if not all, of the intelligence that our committee receives is the finished analysis that’s derived from source reports and other raw intelligence materials that we don’t see and, I might say, we don’t need to see all of,” Mr. Burr said.

“In order to ensure that we can perform our oversight duties of the intelligence committee, would you agree that the committee should be able to review all analytical product if requested?”

Mr. Brennan provided a qualified “yes” but told Mr. Burr: “However, I would have to take a look at the issues it involved. In terms of, you know, what are we talking about in terms of access to that analytic product, is it all staff, all committee members, whatever? I just can’t make commitment to that.”

“But your intention, and what I think your objective is, I fully support in terms of making sure this committee has the breadth of analytic expertise available from the agency,” he said. An administration official involved in both intelligence and congressional oversight has said members of Congress must be able to access raw intelligence reports.

“Cooked intelligence contains the opinions and biases of the analysts,” the official said.

Case in point: The controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program that made the statement that Iran halted all work on its nuclear arms program in 2003.

The estimate continues to be the intelligence community’s assessment, despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency has since uncovered evidence indicating Iran continued work on nuclear weapons after 2003 and refused to cooperate in explaining it.

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