Chinese military to put new focus on cyber

Chinese military to put new focus on cyber
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China’s updated military strategy doubles down on cyber, promising to “expedite the development of a cyber force.”

The updated strategy comes on the heels of the the Pentagon unveiling its new cybersecurity strategy and the White House releasing an updated National Security Strategy.


China’s document, published in full by Chinese state news agency Xinhua, outlines the broad goals of protecting its infrastructure from cyberattacks, enhancing its understanding of hacking threats and committing to international cyber cooperation.

“Cyberspace has become a new pillar of economic and social development, and a new domain of national security,” the document says. “As international strategic competition in cyberspace has been turning increasingly fiercer, quite a few countries are developing their cyber military forces.”

One of those countries is the U.S., which has an increasingly frosty cyber relationship with Beijing.

Both of the Obama administration's new strategy documents directly address the cyber threat posed by China, calling Beijing out for backing extensive cyber espionage campaigns against the U.S.

The Pentagon’s strategy also delineates a greater and more explicit role for offensive cyber capabilities, angering Beijing officials. Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng accused the U.S. of accelerating an “Internet arms race.”

That arms race doesn’t appear to be slowing down with China’s new military strategy.

“Being one of the major victims of hacker attacks, China is confronted with grave security threats to its cyber infrastructure,” the document says. “As cyberspace weighs more in military security, China will expedite the development of a cyber force, and enhance its capabilities of cyberspace situation awareness, cyber defense.”

The commitment to international cooperation provided a glimmer of hope for potential reconciliation.

The U.S. has been trying to cement overseas alliances with the goal of promoting international cybersecurity norms against state-sponsored hacking.

But China has moved in the opposite direction, signing a broad cyber pact with Russia that vowed joint work on combating Internet technology that could “destabilize the internal political and socio-economic atmosphere.”

In its military strategy, China said it would commit to international cooperation “so as to stem major cyber crises, ensure national network and information security and maintain national security and social stability.”