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US ‘CYBERCOM’ May Trigger A New Cyber Warfare: Chinese analysts

The US’ announcement to set up a Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), which is aimed at gaining military supremacy in cyber space, might trigger a new Cyber Warfare Race, Chinese strategic analysts have warned.

“It has already had the lead in conventional military and nuclear forces. Now it is expanding this advantage to be the leading force in new fields, such as electromagnetic space and outer space,” state-run China Daily quoted Peng Guangqian, a Beijing-based strategist, as saying.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, recently, announced the establishment of the world’s first comprehensive, multi-service military cyber operation, called CYBERCOM, which could provide US forces a lead in new emerging strategic fields like space and outer space.

The announcement came only a few days after President Barack Obama laid out his National Security Strategy, stressing for the first time in such a document the importance of cyber security as one of the core national security interests, he said.

Meng Xiangqing, a professor with the National Defence University said there is a very thin line between a defencive and an offencive act when it comes to cyber space.

“CYBERCOM ranks high in the US military, reporting directly to the US Strategic Command, and the US is the most advanced state in cyber technology. This absolute advantage may trigger a new type of arms race,” Meng said.

Despite the US insisting CYBERCOM is mainly defencive, Meng said it “has raised a new challenge for China, and that is how to guard our national cyber security.”

States other than the US have already been planning mechanisms to guard national cyber security, including the UK, France, Russia, South Korea and Israel, which already has a military cyber force.

Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based military strategist, said even if other countries join in the cyber arms race, they are not capable of competing with the US since it possesses the core technologies of the Internet and of all 13 Internet root servers in the world, 10 are in the US, including the only one main root server.

The newspaper also reported the comments of US Deputy Defence Secretary William J Lynn III that the potential enemy that CYBERCOM will fight has not yet been clearly identified.

“I think we need to be prepared for the unexpected. In fact, over the past several years we have experienced damaging penetrations,” Lynn had said apparently referring alleged attempts by Chinese hackers to break into sensitive defence sites.


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