Wednesday, November 18, 2009

US and Chinese National cyberwar postures

Two fairly thorough analyses came out recently. One from National Journal Magazine describing the US cyberwar plan. Much of it repeats things heard in various places, but I hadn't seen one with the level of depth/coverage in one place (particularly the emphasis on the telecommunications aspect), and it was better written then much of the earlier work. I do have to take exception to the comment: "Mostly younger officers, who received their early combat education through video games and Dungeons & Dragons, wage these battles". I'm known plenty of commercial industry hackers and government officers and not necessarily a whole lot of D&D out there... nor is that even remotely relevant. Video games definitely, both prevalent in the industry and relevant if they are trying to make the point that GenX and later grew up with video games/PCs in the home and are more comfortable in the domain then many of their senior counterparts.

The second report is titled: "Capability of the People’s Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation" and was prepared for The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Again, it's an unclassified report describing what is available via open source collection, similar to James Mulvenon and other individuals work on the topic. I saw James brief some government people and he's got an interesting take on what's going on and has done his legwork. The Northrop Grumman report is definitely worth reading, it updates prior work to 2009 and includes some good depth in a few areas. I worked with George Bakos (one of the two SMEs) when he was at Dartmouth, he's a technically sharp guy who adds some credibility to their work.