Home » Cyber » China Seeks ‘Information Dominance,’ Pentagon Says

China Seeks ‘Information Dominance,’ Pentagon Says

by Brendan McGarry on May 11, 2013

Military delegates dressed in the latest uniform attend the reception of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the PLA at the Great Hall of the People

China wants to be able to control the flow of information in the event of a war to thwart data-hungry adversaries such as the U.S., according to a Defense Department report released this week.

The People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, considers the strategy of “information dominance” a critical form of defense against countries that it views as “information dependent,” according to the Pentagon’s latest annual assessment of China’s armed forces.

“PLA authors often cite the need in modern warfare to control information, sometimes termed ‘information blockade’ or ‘information dominance,’ and to seize the initiative and gain an information advantage in the early phases of a campaign to achieve air and sea superiority,” the document states. The country’s “investments in advanced electronic warfare systems, counterspace weapons, and computer network operations … reflect the emphasis and priority China’s leaders place on building capability for information advantage.”

The report, released May 5, concluded China’s military build-up is continuing, with investments in missiles, drones and cyber warfare as part of a plan to deter the U.S. and other countries from intervening in the region. The U.S. calls these types of missions “anti-access/area-denial,” or A2/AD, while the PLA refers to them as “counter-intervention operations,” it states.

The report marked the first time the Defense Department blamed China directly for targeting its computer networks. The attacks were focused on extracting information, including sensitive defense technology, according to the document.

“In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military,” it states. “The accesses and skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks.”

China called the accusations “groundless” and “not in line with the efforts made by both sides to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation,” according to a May 9 report published on the state-run website, “People’s Daily Online.” The country is a “victim itself of cyberattacks,” it states.

A Chinese espionage group since 2006 has stolen hundreds of terabytes of information from at least 141 companies across 20 major industries, including aerospace and defense, according to a February report from Mandiant, a closely held company based in Alexandria that sells information-security services.

The Defense Department wants to better protect its networks from attack and asked Congress to increase funding for so-called cyberspace operations 21 percent to $4.7 billion in fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1.

The military over the next three years plans to hire more military and civilian personnel and contractors at U.S. Cyber Command. The employees will be part of regional teams in Maryland, Texas, Georgia and Hawaii.

The Pentagon is building a joint operations center for the command at Fort Meade, Md. Construction is slated to begin in 2014, with tenants occupying the facility in 2017.

The military will fund efforts to automatically detect vulnerabilities on classified networks, buy software that looks for suspect files, and support other operations to “detect, deter and, if directed, respond to threats,” according to an overview of the budget.

The boost in cybersecurity funding is part of a larger trend across the federal government. The Obama administration’s budget would spend more than $13 billion on such programs. That amounts to about 16 percent of the government’s $82 billion information-technology budget.

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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

BlackOwl18E May 11, 2013 at 10:38 am

That's exactly what I've been saying! China doesn't have the ability to make a conventional military powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with us in the immediate future so they turn to hacking and cyber warfare.

Also, am I the only one worried that the F-22 proved to be only evenly matched with 4th gen jets at dogfighting?

Link: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/07/f-2


Josh May 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

In WVR combat, they will be very evenly watched, yes. See, they don't tell you all the restrictions that they may have implemented. It's like saying the F-15 got it's ass kicked by the Su-30 in Cope India, so the Su-30 is superior. But then you never tell us that the F-15 were restricted to using their radars on very low power, they were outnumber 5-1, and they were not allowed to use BVR missiles, such as the AIM-120. I'm sure there were restrictions in this as well. The officers even said in their report that the F-22 was unmatched in BVR. He said you could not get anywhere near them without getting targeted. It was once you were on a 1-1 dogfight that they were evenly matched. The F-22 was primarily designed for just that, BVR engagements. Often times in these war simulator games, they will create certain scenarios to see how the jets will perform. So, they might say that the jets have to dogfight WVR to see the capabilities if it ever were to come down to it.

Remember, 96% of air to air kills scored in the Gulf War were BVR. That number has only gone up in 20 years with the advancements in stealth, radar, missiles, etc. The days of one on one dogfights are almost over. It is very unlikely we will see dogfighting in the next air war. Stealth and BVR engagements are the new normal.


USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

100% knowledge here. BVR fights are the way for the future; and frankly, the F-15 and F-22 dominant in that field. Couple with the AIM-120, and AESA radars, they hold serious power in the air. I would imagine that the F-22, withs its superior thrust vectoring and its computer systems, would be excellent in dogfights. The F-15 has taken MiG-29's, so logically, the F-22 shouldn't have trouble with a Flanker. Probably most importantly is that NK's air force consists of mostly 50's aircraft. From the limited knowledge we have, their best aircraft appear to be MiG-21s and MiG-29s, both of which have fallen prey to the F-15 on a number of occasions. As for China, well, majority of their aircraft are just copies of Russian designs, so I would imagine that the MiG and Flanker copies are targets for the F-15 and 22. The J-20 doesn't hold a really good call as a "stealth" fighter; large, canards, etc.


Matt May 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

Wargames with restrictions on our equipment are actually a pretty good approximation of the problematic ROE we will place on our warfighters.
Better choice is to let the world see our military as the big quiet mean dog on the leash. When the time comes for a reaction, unleash hell and let the dog eat.
Stop pretending warfare can be surgical.


USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Conspiracy theories more than anything. F-22 was designed to take the threats offered by the MiG-29 and Flanker series. We have seen that the -15 has been quite capable against the Fulcrum. The Flanker series is a whole different animal, though I maintain with new AESA radars and AIM-120s, the F-15 could probably take it out in BVR combat (my first argument on this site, against Restore, if anyone remembers). WVR is somewhere that the Flanker might hold an advantage, but once again, BVR has dominated as the primary form of air combat in the past few aerial operations. The F-22, with its advanced systems, shouldn't be out classed by Flankers, its practically impossible, considering the level of technology available on either aircraft. PAK FA is anyone's guess, really. The J-20 is overrated; canards and large design don't yield stealthy.


prodozul May 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

What about the J-31?


USS ENTERPRISE May 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Adding ten to the designation number hardly does anything. From the looks of the J-31, in comparison to the J-21, WAIT HANG ON! J-31 is a SHAMELESS copy of the F-22. How are they getting away with this? Eh, I guess it hardly matters. Chinese RAM materials and equipment are yet to be proven to be anywhere near as good as legacy -15 tech, much less the modern-awesome-milliondollar-supercomputers that are packed in the F-22. Anyone interested, on the incriminating J-31 pic, link: http://killerapps.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04


Brandon May 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

What is scary is that the F35 will have nothing close to the capabilities of the F22 in BVR or dogfighting. Boy… really helps me sleep better at night. I sure hope everything else in the JSF is supposed to make as much a difference as they say it will.


blight_ May 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm


We'll keep kicking around new theories as to what makes a good fighter for a while. In Boyd E-M terms, I'm not sure how good the F-35 is. The better question is: is EM theory still completely relevant today?

And then theres smsgt mac's blog, which has taken a few stabs at the F-35 before.

So the question at the end of the day is: do F-35 advocates think they are the next Guderian, heralds of a new paradigm shift; are they pushing something ahead of its time, or are they pushing some kind of cold turkey? I guess we'll find out someday.


blight_ May 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm

And as Talosian noted, thanks for the massive derail.


BlackOwl18E May 13, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Derailment is my specialty. ;)


STemplar May 14, 2013 at 5:18 am

If you're in dog fights your air campaign strategy has already failed. If you are in a significant number of dog fights it doesn't matter if you win those battles you're already losing the war.


Belesari May 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I'm glad we haven't built our entire military power plan for the future entirely on having absolute knowledge of the battle field and the haring of such information over raw fire power and ability in our systems.



USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Well. The AC-130 and A-10 spit serious lead, so I mean, raw fire power ain't bad. Ability in systems. Well, the F-35 hasn't completely been assimilated into the USAF so we are go at this very moment.


Sev May 11, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Thats why we should act totally at random and have absolutely no coherent plan, that way they could never predict what we might do next, because we wouldn't know either. Information would be useless. We could sink a ship one day and moon their soldiers another. Then offer to sign a treaty and bomb the meeting, killing their generals and leaders.


Sev May 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm

im kidding btw


Belesari May 12, 2013 at 1:19 am

I figured that. Or the beer is flowing freely. Either is a good day in my book.


USS ENTERPRISE May 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

Yeah, I was about to say. A rogue state with nuclear weapons? We have enough of those already.


Roland May 12, 2013 at 11:18 am

We probably need to hire the US paparazzi. (Just kidding)


Talosian May 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm

It's strange, how in reference to an article about information dominance, we get a 40-comment thread about war history and fighter pilots…


blight_ May 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm

“investments in advanced electronic warfare systems, counterspace weapons, and computer network operations … reflect the emphasis and priority China’s leaders place on building capability for information advantage.”

Indeed, a mirror statement of whatever cyber warfare unit is stood up here in the states.


USS ENTERPRISE May 13, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Yeah, well welcome to Defensetech, where we rarely DEBATE (dirty debating) about anything the article talks about.


Ben May 13, 2013 at 8:32 pm

We as Americans have always held opinion dominance. It's not necessarily the same thing, lol.


Big-Dean May 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

I can't believe how collectively dumb we are. If you want to protect you stuff you don't put in on a network that can be publicly accessed. Keep all of you secret stuff air gaped then you don't have to worry about it.


Lance May 14, 2013 at 10:48 am

I think show China's best threat to us is that it can spy better than most can. they cant make better weapons than we can so they spy and copy them.


Javier May 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I think we should start eliminating them from our list of importing countries and start modifying their behavior and way of thinking.


Javier May 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I think I am going to stop purchasing their products (all types).


Bruce Kuzma May 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm

It is not what they have…It is what they are building…Never underestimate the Chinese. They take what information they want and build on it…Study your History Folks because China is coming of Age and It is not going in the Back Seat.


Neil May 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Where is Sun Tzu when you need him?


SFP May 23, 2013 at 2:25 am

Thats why we should act totally at random and have absolutely no coherent plan, that way they could never predict what we might do next, because we wouldn’t know either. Information would be useless. We could sink a ship one day and moon their soldiers another. Then offer to sign a treaty and bomb the meeting, killing their generals and leaders.


Dave King May 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I think RAF pilots would feel slightly aggrieved to hear the USAF has the best pilots 'by far' and the French think they would eat every other air force in the world for breakfast!


The British American May 11, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I wouldn't go as far as saying 'the best pilots by far'. Among the worlds greatest, but has anyone here ever heard of ENJJPT?? They train together and get equal piloting foundations from the same course. The British are only inferior in numbers but still pack a sting in every battle they have had. The U.S has the most money and in my opinion the better technology (although in this case the eurofighter's skills were underestimated). The Germans have openly admitted that their EF technology is still not nearly on the level of the RAF's EF, so I am eager to hear the results of the most recent Red Flag where RAF and USAF along with French, Canadian and Swedish all participated. At the end of the day know matter how much people argue about who's Air Force has the bigger d*** we are all brothers in arms and will remain that for many many years ahead.


Belesari May 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm

There are apparently frenchmen here angry at you LOL.


Davis May 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Yeah and the French think they still run the world! Let them live in their little fantasy thinking they have the best pilots – Lord knows they have plenty of history to show for it! As for the RAF, I have plenty of respect for them. No doubt they are awesome now and have been throughout history. Their pilots (with some radar help) kept the Luftwaffe at bay in WWII and played a major role in why Nazi Germany couldn't take the UK (the French couldn't say the same about themselves however). I think RAF pilots could compete with USAF one's but in the end they get edged out simply because the USAF gives more money to train each individual pilots in the air and on the ground, the USAF has been more active in terms of engagements in the past couple of decades and they get more experience by doing numerous exercises with many different nations. With that being said, there is no doubt RAF pilots are some of the best in the world and they give the UK plenty of reasons to be proud but I still think a majority of USAF pilots are better.


USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Don't they show up at Red Flag? RAF pilots have had a, colorful, past, you know Battle of Blighty and all. They take pride in saying that they singlehandedly took on and destroyed the Nazis, and Spitfire, and whatnot. Poor US never gets anything for, you know, Lend Lease, that "volunteer" group in Britain, Flying Tigers, etc. The French, well, are French. Don't know what that means or anything, but it has to stand for something.


HistoryRocks May 13, 2013 at 9:29 am

For those French bashing…. If you peel back the onion, you'll find that they have a rich military aviation heritage.

80 or 90 years ago to WWI, it was the French aviation industry that really pushed the limits then. The French saw the possibilities of air warfare sooner than just about anyone else:

1. Roland Garros fitted the first forward firing machine gun to an aircraft.
2. Georges Guynemer was renowned as one of the best pilots of the war. He was an utter patriot for France.
3. Rene Fonck was not as honorable as Guynemer, a bit more of a shady chacter. Nonetheless, he is credited with 75 aerial victories, second only to Richtofen.
4. The Nieuport 11/17, SPAD VII and XIII were some of the best fighters of the war. If you were a pilot in WWI, the SPAD XIII was the best airplane to bring you home alive.

The French are still developing their own aircraft in an era where countries are increasingly working in multi-national coalitions. The Dassault Rafale is quite an achievement. Further, most aviation firms use Dassault's CATIA to design aircraft.

All of that said, I think that pilot-for-pilot and plane for plane, the Isrealis are probably the best.


Qianlong May 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

The battle of britain lasted 82 days and the Luftwaffe lost 1408 planes. During the 45 day Battle of France, often fought without any radar or radios, the Luftwaffe lost 1469 planes! The French lost 575 planes.


Paul May 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

All in all, if you count 'em up France had experienced the best average in total military campaign victories compare to all other European countries in its entire history.


USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Okay. But in the end, who got invaded?


Davis May 11, 2013 at 8:59 pm

That's Greeeaaat but you left out the part where France lost control of their country to Nazi Germany and Great Britain didn't.


Belesari May 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Actually no. The french lost over 2,000 or so planes and hundreds of thousands of men. The Pathetic and cowardly French leaders then betrayed their country by kneeling to the Germans while their people still fought and the Brits were coming to their aid.

The French People were never conquered. They fought from day one till the end of the war. The French Aristocracy (then as now under a different name) gave up.

Hence why the average French soldier, airmen, or Sailor may be skilled and brave they like many European Military's are lead by a band of high born assholes,


Davis May 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Alright I'll concede your statement is more true than mine above. I do have to give the French Resistance some credit for their actions in WWII. Its just hard to overlook sometimes the fact that France is a democracy and the French people continue to vote in those "band of high born *******s" into office and expect different results.


garr May 12, 2013 at 11:29 am

Really. If you were the decision maker and had no where to go, what would you have done. The Nazis were within days of Paris, they were within a few weeks of the Mediterranean coast, the army was fighting a withdrawal, they were losing planes and airports. Where were they to go? To Franco in Spain? Mussolini in Italy? Algiers without sufficient transport? They were trapped. The leaders had to sue for peace to preserve lives. Geography and the Blitzkreig determined the outcome. The British had their asses whipped and barely survived Dunkirk. They also barely survived the air war. The French did not have the advantages of Britain and Russia. Britain had the Channel and The Russians had the Urals to buy time and wait for the American arsenal to arrive. Please, no more Franco-haters.., like the British, they were and are our brothers in arms. They sent French officers to help train our troops for George Washington at Valley Forge. When George marched out of his winter quarters the army was better trained and more professional. The French Fleet prevented the British fleet from saving the British Army at the battle of Yorktown, which ended the Revolutionary War and granted the USA its freedom. Please. http://www.harlingen.isd.tenet.edu/coakhist/amrev.html&l...


Davis May 11, 2013 at 10:36 pm

"At the end of the day know matter how much people argue about who's Air Force has the bigger d*** we are all brothers in arms and will remain that for many many years ahead."


Best quote I've heard on this site in a while!


USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm

True. Say, you wanna deport Piers Morgan? (British American, you know)


USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm

*some*. Heck no. Without their help, D-Day would never have happened. Half the war in the European theater was based on information that the French Resistance found out.


garr May 12, 2013 at 11:07 am

The factual reason for that, is simply the Channel protected Britain from a Blitzkreig. Belgium and France were overrun in a matter of weeks by the new strategy. The French couldn't stop the tsunami of tons of steel and they didn't have the space to fall back and regroup as the Russians did.
Please go beyond the surface, trash talking and read the history. A person who doesn't read and reflect, is like a person who eats and doesn't digest.


USS ENTERPRISE May 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

I agree that the French and the US have, and always will have, a close relation, but the leaders of France allowed the occupation to happen. In short, the soldiers were fighting while the French signed a "ceasefire" with the Nazis. Then they left. The French people did the fighting, the Resistance. But the leaders gave up a bit quickly.


blight_ May 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I think the question is how badly the French were willing to fight. Sure, many of the guys in charge were products of WW1 and the stupendous casualties inflicted upon France; but simultaneously the French were unlikely to "want" another round of German occupation (a recap of Franco Prussian war humiliation). That said, the Germans would probably have rounded up and shot people ad nauseum until the French capitulated; and it's likely French leaders were aware of the atrocities perpetuated against the Polish people by the Wehrmacht.

And without the strategic depth that the Soviets had, fighting to the bitter end would confine France to a rump state in Brittany or Calais, dependent on Britain and deprived of its overseas empire. The choice of surrendering to Germany to focus on holding together the remains of the empire was quite clear. However, the paradox is that a loss of empire at home precipitated the colonial revolts; but even Britain lost colonies, and it was never conquered.


USS ENTERPRISE May 12, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Yeah, okay. But didn't the Wehrmacht line up French civilians and shoot them up anyways (Holocaust, for starters). So really, it was either let your allies build up, and hold on, or give in. They chose the giving-in, which was as bloody as fighting to the very end. Britain lost the majority of its empire; losing India was a severe loss for Britain. They lost a good trading post, farmland, naval base, and an excellent deterrent for the soon-to-be-communist China. But Gandhi Sahib had other plans, and here we are today.


garr May 13, 2013 at 1:17 am

Ditto. We agree. The elected leaders willingness to fight was influenced by the French Generals. The reality on the battle fields threatened Paris and the huge cultural treasures of France. Hell, even Hitler respected that and didn't wish to destroy Paris if it could be avoided. He went to Versailles to rub salt into wounds. It wasn't until he was losing when he ordered the destruction of Paris.
Yes, political decisions driven by military realities. I sure as hell wouldn't want to have made the decision to surrender, and forever be labeled 'he who kneeled and gave up'. French Vichy leader Marshal Petain. Sad the French nation and people have been tainted by it too. Not deserved,


blight_ May 13, 2013 at 11:04 am

"They chose the giving-in, which was as bloody as fighting to the very end."

Was it? Every field army of the BEF and the French was encircled and defeated in the field. The Italians were coming out of the south, and it's possible Franco could've joined in as well.

The Germans had troops on the ground in the northern half, and that's the occupied zone that the Vichy only had paper authority in. The longer the fight drew out, the more likely that the Vichy France "Free Zone" would've been confined to a tiny beach on Nice, or some tiny inland province, with the rest of France divided between victors.

The evil Wikipedia suggests that the government was strongly divided, and threw in the towel with the caveat of very favorable terms. The French army existed in rump form, and the Navy wasn't touched. The army in metropolitan France was kept small and puny, but the armies in North Africa and the Middle East were numerous, but underequipped (which is normal for colonial armies).


TomUK May 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm
USS ENTERPRISE May 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Uhm, I am assuming civilians that were caught/killed in the Holocaust, the German "crackdown" on Resistance Fighters, and the ones that were caught in the crossfire between German and Allied troops. A lot, I am assuming, of course.


Praetorian May 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm

The French created thier own mess, if they would have listned to Charles de Gaulle and invested in armour and aircraft it might have been different. Instead they poured tons of money, manpower and materials to build the Maginot line, which the Germans just went around. Sure the Blitzkreig was a new strategy, but the French had 8 months to prepare after Poland was invaded. It was the lack of armour and aircraft is what did the French in.


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