Winning a future conflict with China could hinge on destroying the communist regime’s crucial space and cyberspace assets before they take down American systems, a top military official said.
“Your best defense is a good offense,” Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday. “So, you’re going to have to have offensive capabilities, likewise, in space and cyberspace, in order to make sure that our national interests are preserved. There’s a lot of work to be done in these areas.”
"With 355 ships in its fleet, the PLAN is slated to expand its inventory to 420 ships within the next four years, the Pentagon’s annual China military report estimates. By 2030, the PLAN is expected to have 460 ships".— Giovanni Martinelli (@giovamartinelli) November 4, 2021
And by 2035 or 2040…?https://t.co/fNB6UfO4yY
Those remarks hinted at the oft-invisible contest that could decide the fate of millions, especially if Beijing attempts to invade Taiwan and the U.S.-China rivalry turns violent. A daily barrage of cyberattacks from China, Russia, and lower-profile hostile or criminal actors has forced U.S. Officials to broaden their perceptions of threats taking shape in cyberspace. It has also driven a philosophical shift in American cyber operations.
“We’re in competition
every day,” announced Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, the National Security Agency director and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, who followed Milley at the forum as he defined the “persistent engagement” doctrine that his team has followed since 2018. “We had a new strategy that announced, “Hey, we’re gonna operate outside the United States, and we’re gonna look for adversaries that might be trying to do us harm, and we’re not going to just watch anymore. And I think that that was a pretty big watershed event.”
President Xi Jinping signed a new set of regulations on military equipment procurement, focusing on war preparedness and combat capabilities. Analysts saying that the PLA will acquire the best weapons and equipment on future battlefields at a faster pace. #ChinaMilitary pic.twitter.com/YnoHpUOfcq— Alix (@Alixia0402) November 3, 2021
Nakasone confirmed that a recent ransomware attack on an energy pipeline made him recognize a new category of national security threats that he had seen previously as “criminal activity” for a law enforcement agency to address.
“So, one of the things that we have done at both the agency and the command is we’ve conducted a surge,” he stated. “We bring our best people together … the really good thinkers [about] how do you get after folks that are
doing this? How do you get after, you know, the capabilities that they’re producing? How do you get after the flow of money? Those are all things that we have done over the past, really, three months.”
U.S. officials have “made a lot of progress” off the back of that innovation, but Milley underscored that the cyberattacks occur on a titanic scale.
China continues with its lack of transparency–what's next? The world sees 100s of new silos, hypersonic weapons & a projection to QUADRUPLE their nukes, meaning China is moving away from minimum deterrence & to a military designed to coerce its peer competitors. 2/3— US Strategic Command (@US_Stratcom) November 3, 2021
“Every single day, our nation is literally being hacked, penetrated, [a target of] espionage, intelligence operations going on all in cyberspace,” Milley told NBC News’s Lester Holt. “It happens millions of times a day.”