Posts Tagged ‘cyber’
Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), said something in testimony to House Armed Services Committee last week that, uh, sort of set off people who have been watching Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) development. Here’s the key bit of Admiral Willard’s testimony (PDF):
China is also developing and testing a conventional anti-ship ballistic missile based on the DF-21/CSS-5 MRBM designed specifically to target aircraft carriers. (p. 14)
The part that was so provocative to China ASBM-watchers was the use of the word “testing.” Dr. Andrew S. Erickson, Associate Professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College and a founding member of the department’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), had this to say about the use that particular word in official testimony:
While mounting evidence from Chinese doctrinal, service, technical, trade, and netizen publications suggests that China has been developing an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) since the 1990s, this is the first official confirmation that it has advanced to the stage of actual testing. This data point should dispel notions previously held by some that Beijing could not, or would not, develop an ASBM. (emphasis in original)
If Chinese ASBM capabilities interest you, you should do yourself a favor and check out Dr. Erickson’s related post in its entirety. He includes at the bottom of the post a useful list of relevant recent literature, some of which I was already familiar with, but that also contains some new items that I had not seen before. The motherlode!
I think that China’s rapid military modernization, particularly as focused on so-called asymmetric capabilities (sometimes also called anti-access weapons) like ASBMs, computer network operations (CNO; so-called “cyber” or computer hacking capabilities), and anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) could indeed be “game changers” in the Taiwan Strait. In fact, it is likely that I will focus on some aspect related to this in my master’s thesis.
During my first semester in graduate school in Taiwan, I wrote a short term paper that started off some lines of thinking on these asymmetric capabilities and their effect on Taiwan Strait security. A copy of the paper is here:
I’m going to be on the road for the next couple weeks, so “posting will be light.” Ha ha – like it has been heavy thus far! I always wanted to write that, though. I am now done with my first semester of graduate school, so I should have extra time to post things here – except that I will be conducting “TouristOps” for most of the semester break. (Classes resume after the Chinese New Year.)
Like some of the other bloggers I aim to emulate, I am going to leave some reading suggestions for you. Here’s what I am going to have on the plane to Tokyo with me:
- David Finkel’s book The Good Soldiers. It has been hailed in multiple places as one of the best on the Iraq War, so I am to see for myself. I’ve read other acclaimed accounts like Craig Mullaney’s The Unforgiving Minute and Dexter Filkins’s The Forever War (if you haven’t read these two, you should), and I want to see if Finkel’s book measures up.
- The report “Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network” from The Information Warfare Monitor and the U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission’s report on Chinese cyberwarfare. The recent big kerfluffle with China and Google is a neat window into the spooky world of computer network operations, and in fact is an area of research that I am very interested in. There’s a lot of breathless, overheated stuff in the day-to-day media about cyberwarfare, but reports like these (both published last year) are a lot more objective.
- Earlier this month, CSIS released a new report on Taiwan Strait security called “Building Trust Across the Taiwan Strait: A Role for Military Confidence-building Measures.” Taiwan Strait security is another one of my research interests, so this one ought to be good to. (If you missed CNAS’s China-Taiwan report last month, then you should go ahead and fix yourself right now and read it.)
- If that’s not enough, then I’ll finish myself off with the latest edition of the National Bureau of Asian Research’s Asian Policy. It’s got an interesting-looking “roundtable” piece devoted to training the next generation of Asia experts.
I can’t help but “pile on” here – if you are reading this and haven’t yet read CNAS’s other new report about fixing the intelligence effort in Afghanistan, just stop and go read it. Excellent stuff.