Tuesday, January 08, 2008

China's Three-Headed Information Monster

The Strategy Page describes how China assembled a force few have heard about. In idyllic 1990s, the Chinese Defense Ministry established a research organization called the "NET Force" geared towards conducting information warfare. NET Force was soon joined by an irregular civilian militia; the "Red Hackers Union" (RHU). "Starting in the late 1990s, China assembled what has now become 30,000 Ministry of Public Security employees manning the Golden Shield Project (also known as The Great Firewall of China), and monitor Internet use throughout the country."



These three organizations, which apparently work closely with each other, have provided China with a formidable Cyber War capability. NET Force, with only a few thousand personnel, appears to be the controlling organization for Cyber War activities. With the RHU and Golden Shield, they can mobilize formidable attacks, as well as great defensive potential. No other nation has anything like it.

The Chinese have recognized the potential of the Internet as a force and are attempting to invent systems to mobilize and focus their national resources upon exploiting its vulnerabilities. How that will compare with similar developments in America like the blogosphere will be fascinating to observe. Will our model be better? It's instructive to compare this approach with the ponderous notions of public diplomacy and strategies built around newspaper and broadcast network cycles that the campaign of the "smartest woman in the world" may have relied on. Perhaps historians of the future will one day compare the mainstream media to such historical objects as the Maginot Line and the dreadnought battleship. "Like a cut flower in a vase; so fair to see yet doomed to die."

9 Comments:

Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The key to making Communism work is the absolute control of information. People in North Korea, for example, are told that conditions everywhere else in the world are worse. People in Cuba are forbidden to travel or enter the International zone in Havana. In China in 1975 the Shimantan Dam collapsed in China and killed an estimated 230,000 people. Nobody heard about this because the Chinese Government simply pretended it never happened.

We are living in the Information Age. Free societies are benefitting enormously from the instant access to information in ways that are still evolving. All aspects of our lives are affected. Since the Chinese system absolutely requires them to deny their people free access to information, their system is imposing a handicap on itself which will make it increasingly difficult for it to compete on the world stage.

The economics of Communism never worked, but it worked (badly) as a political system. Now it will find itself increasingly nonviable in competing with free societies.

The danger is that the Chinese realize this fact. Since they are peaking and will be unable to compete in the future, what will they choose to do to maintain their position on the World Stage?

1/08/2008 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

See Center of gravity

Starling David Hunter's comment about Civilian Information Militias
3/07/2006 06:40:00 PM

Civilian Irregular Computer Network Operators are already at work taking down jihadi sites.

The new Air Force Cyber Space Command would do well to establish some contacts and attempt to gain some influence over the Irregulars that have been at war without them all this time.

1/08/2008 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Great link from Starling David Hunter. There are so many occasional gems in the comments I suspect an assiduous researcher could write a book entirely from ideas that people have dropped onto this site.

1/08/2008 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

USA Civilians Killed al Qaeda on the Internet

1/08/2008 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Irregular Restrictive Measures — Blogospheric Computer Network Attack

1/08/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Make it an e-book, wretchard.

SDH is my blogfather.

Here's another oldie but goodie

The lamp under the bushel basket Wednesday, March 01, 2006

1/08/2008 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I'm encouraged by the fact that it still takes humans to do it.

1/08/2008 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Well, not all of those thousands of hackers are facing inwards. Thousands are hacking U.S. and European Business computers and Federal computer systems.

And most times getting away with it.

Papa Ray

1/08/2008 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

In Russia for decades before the fall of the Soviet government, radios and televisions were manufactured that could only receive the approved channels. Printing presses, mimeographs (remember those?) and later copy machines were gnerally controlled by the KGB.

"сам издательство"

Or "sam-izdatyel'stva"

Shortened to "samizdat" refers to the clandestine translation, printing and circulation of news and literature otherwise suppressed and outlawed by the prevailing authorities. Despite the harsh penalties --- which could include a few years in one of the Gulag camps --- information and ideas from the West managed to diffuse through the Soviet Union.

It is likely that this was a very important factor in preparing for the collapse of the Communist government, which finally could not keep enough of its subjects believing in the Soviet version of the Truth.

"Mig Pilot," the autobiography of Viktor Belenko, tells how Lt. Belenko was gradually awakened to the dissonance between how the government described the world, and what he saw going on with his own eyes. After seeing Nixon's resignation, he reasoned that a country that could decide to depose its leader could not after all be ruled by the ruthless dictatorship he'd been lead to believe. In the fullness of time, he decided to defect, and flew his Mig fighter jet under the radar to a Japanese commercial airport.

Ya can't keep the truth out forever.

1/08/2008 09:56:00 PM  

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