China Warns of ‘Internet Arms Race’ as US Military Starts Fighting Back in Cyberspace

Has a the cyberwar officially begun?
China Warns of ‘Internet Arms Race’ as US Military Starts Fighting Back in Cyberspace
A person uses a computer in an Internet cafe in Shenyang, China, in this file photo. (AP Photo)
Joshua Philipp

The U.S. military will start fighting back in cyberspace, through a new strategy released by the Pentagon. The guidelines, which allow the U.S. military to retaliate against hackers using cyberweapons, have leaders from the Chinese regime concerned.

The Chinese regime’s Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said the programs will “up the ante on the Internet arms race.”

“We are concerned and worried about this,” Geng said, Reuters reported on April 30.

While the Pentagon strategy is not specifically targeted at China, the Chinese regime is particularly active in launching cyberattacks on U.S. businesses and government offices.

Theft of U.S. innovation, primarily through the Chinese regime, costs the U.S. economy $5 trillion a year, when the expected 10-year life of research and development is factored in. Casey Fleming, CEO of BlackOps Partners Corporation, which does counterintelligence and protection of trade secrets for Fortune 500 companies, detailed the impact in a previous interview with the Epoch Times.

Cyberattacks tied to economic theft have been traced by several organizations to the General Staff Department of the Chinese military. Five Chinese military hackers under the department were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on May 19, 2014.

Geng pulled a common line used by the Chinese regime, and tried pointing to spy programs run by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as similar to the regime’s cyberattacks.

U.S. officials have pointed out that the NSA’s programs are merely for espionage, while the Chinese regime’s programs are for both espionage and economic theft.

The Pentagon’s new cyberstrategy was announced by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at Stanford’s Hoover Institution on April 23.

Carter said, according to Wired, “adversaries should know that our preference for deterrence and our defensive posture don’t diminish our willingness to use cyber options if necessary.”

“And when we do take action—defensive or otherwise,” he said, “conventionally or in cyberspace—we operate under rules of engagement that comply with domestic and international law.”

The logic behind the program, which allows the U.S. military to defend U.S. interests in cyberspace is stated clearly in the new strategy. It states, the Department of Defense “is responsible for defending the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests from attack,” and this responsibility includes “attacks that may occur in cyberspace.”

The strategy states five goals, which include building and maintaining “ready forces and capabilities” that can conduct cyberoperations, defending Department of Defense networks, being prepared to defend the United States from destructive cyberattacks, and building international alliances to share information on threats.

“There may be times when the President or the Secretary of Defense may determine that it would be appropriate for the U.S. military to conduct cyber operations to disrupt an adversary’s military-related networks or infrastructure so that the U.S. military can protect U.S. interests in an area of operations,” it states.

Joshua Philipp is senior investigative reporter and host of “Crossroads” at The Epoch Times. As an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker, his works include "The Real Story of January 6" (2022), "The Final War: The 100 Year Plot to Defeat America" (2022), and "Tracking Down the Origin of Wuhan Coronavirus" (2020).
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