Xi Jinping, head of the Chinese Communist Party, is calling on China’s military to focus on innovation and information warfare. He declared the world is seeing a “new military revolution.”
“We should cast off the paradigm of mechanized warfare and embrace an approach to war featuring information technology,” Xi said, during a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee.
Xi gave his speech on Friday. His statements were reported by China’s state-run news agency Xinhua on Sunday.
Informationization, he said, is at the core of progress in the military sector, and that as new forms of warfighting emerge, China “must develop foresight and insight into these developments.”
He said, regarding information warfare, the “principle of protecting traditional security interests” should become one of China’s “comprehensive security and strategic interests.”
The new focus on information warfare could have broad implications to the rise of cyberthreats now coming to the forefront. A large portion of major cyberattacks against U.S. companies are traced back to China.
An April report from security company Mandiant found that after several major cyberattacks were traced back to the Chinese military Unit 61398 in February 2013, the hackers briefly went dormant, yet came back with an even greater frequency of attacks.
China’s new focus on information warfare was only part of the Xi’s recent announcement. He called for innovation in military theory, armaments, strategy, and management.
Xi called on the military to integrate with civilian innovation. Currently, China’s weapons research and development is done under state-run companies, which many defense analysts say has slowed China’s military innovation.
He also said that China’s various military departments need to stop fighting for their own interests, and start working as a whole. Defense experts have cited China’s fragmented military and command structure as one of its key weaknesses.