CHINA SET TO STAGE TECHNOLOGICAL WARFARE EXERCISES

The Washington Times on May 29, 2013, reported that China next month will stage military exercises using computer-equipped units that combine traditional firepower and electronic warfare capabilities.

The upcoming drills will demonstrate the strides Beijing has made in adopting U.S.-style technological warfare, stoking concerns among the U.S. and its allies about China’s cyber capabilities.

The exercises will be held in late June at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Zhurihe training base in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Beijing’s largest military training facility, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

They will involve “digitalized units, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces,” Xinhua said.

Cybersecurity “is an issue that we raise at every level in our meetings with our Chinese counterparts and I’m sure will be a topic of discussion when the president meets with President Xi,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Larry M. Wortzel, chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said the capabilities demonstrated by the U.S. military in the 1990s had spurred the Chinese to try to catch up.

“The big shock to them was when they saw what we could do in the Balkans and the [first] Gulf [War],” Mr. Wortzel said, adding that the PLA had been working ever since to emulate the technological capabilities of the U.S. military.

“The principal objective of the Chinese military today is to successfully integrate information technology into every aspect of their operations,” he said. “This is not just about cyber [attacks on enemy forces]. It is about the way you can process and share information on the battlefield.”

Richard D. Fisher, a China scholar at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the very nature of next month’s exercises — involving air and ground forces units from two different army groups — shows how far the Chinese have come.


Scholars say the military’s modernization and the development of Chinese high-tech industries have enabled online spying and the theft of military and industrial secrets.

Mr. Wortzel said the Chinese bought some technology from Europe in their drive to duplicate U.S. success is using data links on the batttlefield, and that much of the U.S. military’s training manuals and doctrine is public. “The rest they stole,” he said.

Although the Chinese rarely invite foreign observers to exercises like next month’s, they do release information about them, and U.S. intelligence agencies would be watching closely, Mr. Wortzel said.

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