Let me begin this article by stating that I like the people of China. The people I have known are smart, well-educated, industrious, and hard-working. On top of that they are a beautiful people – physically and socially.
The Chinese government, however, appears to act like it is an existential threat to America. The government in the last few years appears to have been arming itself like an aggressor, using unfair trading practices, flooding our country with spies, hacking into our government and business systems, requiring American businesses to transfer intellectual and commercial property to them. There are several other apparent situations which I will discuss in this article.
Following are some but not all of the items I will cover in this article. Then I will expand a bit on these items and expanding greater detail in other articles.
- China launched more rockets into orbit in 2018 than any other country.
- China launched secret military satellites in October 2018.
- China is poised to deploy stealth fighters in the South China Sea.
- The Pentagon confirmed that the Chinese Fired Lasers at U.S. Pilots in Incidents near Beijing’s Djibouti military base injured American air crews flying nearby.
- The DIA says the Chinese will deploy an ASAT Laser by 2020.
- China showed off its next generation of destroyer as Xi was in review of it.
- China is militarizing the deep sea
- China is targeting control over the Internet of Things
- China’s impact on the U.S. Education System
- FBI director Christopher Ray warrants that China is America’s most significant intelligence threat
- China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World
As of December 15, 2018 China, made 35 successful orbital launches as compared to 30 for the U. S. In January China launched and succeeded in landing of spacecraft on the far side of the moon. They are working on an equivalent of the space shuttle, and the International Space Station (ISS).
In the first part of October 2018, China launched two secret satellites designated Yaogan 32 – 01 and Yaogan 32 – 02 stating pro forma that they were for agricultural research. China watchers say that when they say it’s for agricultural research it’s their way of saying they don’t want to talk about it. Most people believe it was for signal intelligence (SIGINT).
China does not sit idly by. They continue development of advanced weaponry such as the J–20 Stealth Fighter Aircraft which they are attempting to make competitive with the U.S. Air Force F-22 and F-35 Fighter Aircraft.
A few of the characteristics of the J-20 include:
A chiseled nose section similar to the F-22 adding stealth capabilities.
A frameless canopy.
Front canard wings helping to generate lift.
It has an Electro-Optical Targeting System. There is speculation about what kind of radar type is used.
The East China Sea has been an area that China has tried to claim for itself in many locations that are considered international or that other countries have long claimed as theirs. China claims to have a “maritime militia” of Chinese fishing boats to contestant air defense identification zone that Beijing has declared theirs in 2013. Both American planes and Australian planes in several instances have had lasers shined at their cockpits from these Chinese “fishing boats”.
There has been damage to the eyes of some of these airmen and crews. According to Euan Graham of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Australian pilots told him they were targeted multiple times by Chinese boatss during South China Sea missions. Australian forces have noticed an increase use of lasers according to an Australian Defense Department spokesperson. That is rather vicious and evil.
According to CNN “China has claimed almost the entire 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as a sovereign territory. In recent years it has aggressively asserted its stake in the face of conflicting claims from several Southeast Asian nations.”
According to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) “the PLA is acquiring a range of technologies to improve China’s counterspace capabilities. China is developing antisatellite capabilities, including research and possible development of directed energy weapons and satellite jammers, and probably has made progress on antisatellite missile system that tested in July 2014.” Furthermore, China is developing a directed energy weapon to destroy our satellite system from the ground and from aircraft.
Additionally, China has been equipping its ground forces in China and friendly states with mobile ASAT weapons.
Additionally, China has been arming North Korea with Chinese made ballistic missiles. Hear the Rick Fisher podcast about this.
China is also aggressively upgrading its Navy. In April 2019, China showed off its new Type 055 guided missile destroyer Nanchang with President Ji Jinping in review. He said “Salute to you, comrades. Comrades, thanks for your hard work.” This was televised live in damp foggy weather.
According to Wikipedia and other open sources, the Nanchang is equipped with 112 vertical launch cells with the ability to fire HHQ-9 surface to air missiles, YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles and CJ-10 land attack cruise missiles.
To make it clear, Xi is implementing a plan to renew the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with everything from stealth jets to aircraft carriers to an advanced Navy. Many compare the Nanchang to our Zumwalt class stealth destroyer.
Besides his development of space warfare and aerospace and seaspace stealth technologies, China has disclosed that is begun to build up deep-sea capabilities for warfare.
And according to state-controlled media, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) have the ability to operate in deep waters. This is considered between 3300 feet below surface to more than -13,000 feet.
According to the Washington Times newspaper, the Chinese are developing underwater aircraft carrier systems, underwater robotics, and deep-sea troops. This sounds like James Bond’s nemesis SPECTRE.
Starting in 1978 China began its upgrade of its PLAN to the present time. In the last few years has significantly increased its building and funding.
Whether it is by design the Chinese or it is by economics alone, China is becoming dominant in the Internet of Things (IoT) and has dangerous implications for the people of this nation. This is because, whether by accident or by design, many of the products that are getting into our homes and our businesses do not have security designed into them.
The concept of smart homes is expanding rapidly thanks in part to Amazon and to Google with their Alexa and Hey Google Internet connected products. The Google and Amazon products are not the ones I’m talking about that have security problems but many of the products that would connect to them are unsecure. Download and read the report by Dark Cubed.
Dark Cubed did extensive testing of IoT products such as light bulbs, video cameras and microphones not only to be unsecure but to be directly connecting to companies and servers in China. In addition, the same devices are connecting with up to 40 different companies and their communications.
Do you want companies or governments knowingly your children are home alone or what they’re watching or saying to each other?
There will soon be 20 billion Internet of Things devices connected to the Internet. And that will double, and it will double again.
Dark Cubed is not alone in his clarion call about the dangers that China poses to the Internet of Things. A report by the U.S.- CHINA ECONOMIC and SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION says “China’s unique approach to the development of IoT and its enabling infrastructure poses significant challenges for U.S. economic and national security interests.” It further says, “The highest echelons of the Chinese regime view IoT development and deployment as critical matters of China’s economic competitiveness and national security.”
“Aside from industrial control systems, unauthorized access to health care devices could kill patients and exploitation of smart car vulnerabilities could kill drivers and pedestrians alike, among other examples of possible misuse of data and devices that could have dire consequences,” the report warns.
“The future destructive potential of unauthorized access to IoT devices appears potentially limitless.”
This past week I was channel flipping and came across Maria Bartiromo on the Fox Business Channel having a conversation with an executive from Huawei. As you may be aware the United States government has banned all purchases of equipment from Huawei and has told some of our foreign partners that if they continue to buy while equipment we will not share intelligence with them. Ms. Bartiromo was asking the Huawei representative about this and he denied that they would ever have to provide the Chinese military with information derived from its equipment.
In mid-June a cybersecurity research company called Finite State came out with a report about the vulnerabilities and lack of security of Huawei products. It said, “The Chinese National Intelligence Law of 2016 requires all companies ‘to support, provide assistance, and cooperate in national intelligence work.””
“Even if Huawei may be technically correct in saying that Chinese law doesn’t explicitly ‘compel’ the installation of backdoors, China’s intelligence and counterespionage activities tend to be so expansive that these provisions could be used to justify activities extending well beyond China’s borders.”
Finite State studied Huawei equipment and discovered that 55% of Huawei hardware devices tested contained at least one backdoor access point.
You can read the report here: https://finitestate.io/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Finite-State-SCA1-Final.pdf.
On February 22, 2019 the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Committee on Homeland Security And Government Affairs published a report CHINA’S IMPACT ON THE U.S. EDUCATION SYSTEM.
It was written as a result of several sources having become concerned about activities of the Chinese government using funding to schools to propagandize about China and reports of China threatening to pull funds if the schools don’t play ball.
Figure 1: Confusius School in San Francisco (Xinhua)
Some of the information in the report and others such as DW.com is as follows.
Since Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher, is synonymous with morality, justice, and honesty, the Chinese government chose to capitalize on his rich legacy in established Confucius Institutes on college campuses around the world beginning in 2004. In the US first Institute was at the University of Maryland. Now there are more than 100 Confucius Institutes in the United States.
The Chinese government funds Confucius Institutes and provides Chinese teachers to teach language classes to students and nonstudent community members. In addition to the language classes, the host culture events like Chinese New Year’s celebrations, cooking classes, speakers, and dance and music performances they are to depict China as approachable and compassionate. Confucius classrooms are currently in 519 elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States. Continued expansion of the program is a priority for China.
There is reason to suspect that some schools and/or districts play for pay. To quote from the report
“The Cost of Confucius Institutes. The investment by China in U.S. Confucius Institutes is substantial. Since 2006, the Subcommittee determined China directly provided over $158 million in funding to U.S. schools for Confucius Institutes. A number of U.S. schools, however, failed to properly report this funding as required by law. The Department of Education requires all postsecondary schools to report foreign gifts of $250,000 or more from a single source within a calendar year of receiving them. Despite that legal requirement, nearly 70 percent of U.S. schools that received more than $250,000 from Hanban failed to properly report that amount to the Department of Education. The Department of Education last issued guidance to U.S. schools on foreign gift reporting requirements in 2004, the same year the first Confucius Institute opened in the United States. As China opened over 100 additional Confucius Institutes in the United States over the last 15 years, the Department of Education remained silent.”
Read the linked report and you will see several other instances that could generate multiple grand juries.
Rachelle Peterson, the lead researcher for the Heartland Institute and Policy Director at the National Association of Scholars wrote a piece in The Hill in February 2018 about how she spent a year and a half studying Confucius Institutes and how they “pressured American scholars to keep quiet about China’s unsavory policies.” She also pointed out that of 103 Confucius Institutes in the US, only 16 have reported Confucius Institute’s gifts to the Department of Education since 2010.
Director Christopher Wray of the FBI in April 2019, in an interview with President Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations said that China is stealing its way up the economic ladder. He specifically called out the Chinese government is a threat landscape ranging from terrorism to cybercrime to espionage.
You can read his very direct talk at the FBI website.
I expect to periodically update you on this very important subject.
Project Maven is an Artificial Intelligence system that assists human operators in finding objects of interest to the military. It is based on Machine Learning algorithms from very large databases of information. It is what the Department of Defense calls a “Pathfinder” meaning that is the beginning of a significant direction that the Pentagon has determined to go.
An example of a Project Maven user is the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). There are thousands of hours of video and pictures stored of information for their zones of operation. Commandos need specific information about their operations they can greatly be enhanced by the use of Artificial Intelligence. The Project Maven machine learning algorithm can be used to spot a specific kind of anomaly a huge database of information. Much of that requires visual recognition.
In September 2018 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced it will invest up to $2 billion over the next five years. That announcement was made by DARPA director Stephen Walker saying that the agency was to explore “how machines can acquire humanlike communication and reasoning capabilities.” I first became familiar with DARPA in 1980 when it was known as ARPA when I was a regional manager for Research Inc. managing the Eastern United States for its computer terminal sales to universities and businesses. I became most familiar with ARPA when I became the North Central sales representative for GTE Telenet selling their X.25 product from Bolt Beraneck and Newman which was directly active with ARPA in its development. That was the direct forerunner to the Internet.
DARPA has said that the $2 billion with fund projects over and above the 20 AI projects the Pentagon has going now. (Google, the primary contractor for Project Maven has said they are pulling out of the program. Thousands of Google employees signed the petition for Google to get out of the project and top management caved in to that demand.) According to Peter Highnam, the deputy director of DARPA, “hundreds if not thousands” of schools and companies have bid “aggressively” on these programs.
There is a good chance that Microsoft and Nvidia, and maybe Amazon, will go after this business. Google’s AI software – Tensorflow – is being used by the US military drone program. Fortunately for everyone, Google made Tensorflow open source.
As of December 2018 the DOD who oversaw Project Maven leads its new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) which will coordinate AI research across the Department, government labs, and private companies. The goal of this is to speed up the process of getting AI tools to the war fighters.
There is a sense of urgency to this. China does not operate with the same legal constraints that the US has, and they can mandate that companies such as Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent must comply with the Communist Party’s wishes. We also don’t know how much technology has been transferred to the Chinese by American companies doing business in China. Russia is not a leader in Artificial Intelligence but it has a large base of students could be conscripted to train fairly fast.
In my most recent post NASA Will Use Stratasys 3d Printer to Make Mars Lander Door. I wrote about the fast evolving technology of 3D printing. Ironically, Will Roper, the assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics, said quote “I have airplanes right now that are waiting on parts that are taking a year and a half to deliver. A year and a half!” He just wants to use additive manufacturing technology to get broken planes back in the air. The roadblock is legal, not technical. Read more >>