Information Operations Capabilities
military planners are working to incorporate the concepts
of modern warfare attributed to the RMA and have placed
a priority on developing the technologies and tactics necessary
to conduct rapid tempo, high-technology warfare in Asia.
PLA authors assess that the current RMA holds the potential
for producing radical new forms of warfare, enhanced information
of systems, and “digitized” combat forces.
At the same time, however, based on observations and lessons
learned from the Gulf War and Operation ALLIED FORCE, Beijing
perceives certain weaknesses in what it considers U.S.
over-reliance on technological advances offered by the
B. Key Developments
Information Operations/Information Warfare (IO/IW)
application of IO/IW stresses control, asymmetry, computer warfare,
network warfare, temporal-spatial analysis, knowledge warfare, information
protection, and electronic security. It also includes an unusual
emphasis on a host of new information warfare forces instead of the
information superiority and “system of systems” approaches
popular in the United States.
IO/IW reserve units are active in several cities developing “pockets of excellence” that
could gradually develop the expertise and expand to form a corps
of “network warriors” able to defend China’s
telecommunications, command, and information networks, while
in foreign networks.
SECTION IV PRC MILITARY MODERNIZATION
F. Information Operations/Information Warfare (IO/IW)
of information operations/information warfare (IO/IW) include elements
such as combat secrecy, military deception, psychological warfare,
electronic warfare, physical destruction of C2 infrastructure,
and computer network warfare. China views IO/IW as a strategic
preemptive weapon for use outside of traditional operational boundaries.
IO/IW is to be used substantially as an unconventional weapon at
the beginning of a conflict. China is particularly sensitive to
the potential asymmetric applications IO/IW can have in any future
conflict with a technologically superior adversary.
The Academy of Military Science, the National Defense University,
and the Wuhan Communications Command Academy have published several
books addressing this subject. These writings suggest a growing
sophistication in the PLA’s understanding of all aspects
of IO. In addition to developing wartime applications for its
robust information control and perception management capability,
is pursuing IO/IW development as part of its overall military
The PLA has increased the amount and complexity
of IO/IW components
in military exercises. Efforts initially focused on increasing
the PLA's proficiency in defensive measures, most notably against
the threat of computer viruses. Recent exercises have incorporated
the concept of IW between the opposing command posts at the start
of a conflict. Special information warfare units could attack
and disrupt enemy C4I, while vigorously defending PRC systems.
the enemy is blinded or disrupted, PRC military forces would
attack. Defensive concerns apparently are driving anti-viral
security research and development within the PLA and military-supported
academia. The research is facilitated by the dual-use nature
of information technology (IT) and the growth in China's technology
base. Increases in network defense likely will enhance China's
understanding of virus propagation and behavior, creating a solid
knowledge base not only for computer network defense (CND), but
potentially also for computer network attack (CNA).
In an effort
to improve its skill base in the IT field, the PLA has been setting
up recruiting programs for technical specialists. Specialized IO/IW
reserve units are active in several cities developing “pockets
of excellence” that gradually could develop the expertise
and expand to form a corps of “network warriors” able
to defend China’s telecommunications, command, and information
networks while uncovering vulnerabilities in foreign networks.
China has the capability to penetrate poorly protected U.S. computer
systems and potentially could use computer network attacks to strike
specific U.S. civilian and military infrastructures. This anti-access
strategy is centered on targeting operational centers of gravity,
including C4I centers, airbases, and aircraft carrier battle groups
located around the periphery of China.
Role of Nationalistic Hacking
Nationalistic hacking is likely to occur during periods of tension
or crises. Chinese hacking activities likely would involve extensive
web page defacements with themes sympathetic to China. Although
the extent of Chinese government involvement would be difficult
to ascertain, official statements concerning the leveraging of
China’s growing presence on the Internet, and the application
of the principles of “People’s War” in “net
warfare,” suggest the government will have a stronger role
in future nationalistic hacking.
Source: Annual Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic
of China, 2003
Information Warfare: A Phantom Menace or Emerging Threat? by Mr. Toshi Yoshihara (November 2001). As a step to clarify the
future direction of Chinese information warfare (IW) and to identify
new areas for further research, this monograph explores Chinese perspectives
of IW through a sampling of the burgeoning open literature circulating
in China. The author provides a preliminary assessment of these Chinese
writings and analysis, and demonstrates some linkages and parallels
to America's current debates on IW, the Soviet-U.S. competition,
Clausewitz's classic dictums, and Chinese strategic culture. He concludes
with implications of future developments in Chinese IW for American
Adding Wings to the Tiger: Chinese Information War Theory and Practice by
Mr. Timothy L. Thomas , Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth,
Unrestricted Warfare by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui (Beijing: PLA
Literature and Arts Publishing House, February 1999)