A US military report into the future of relations with China has claimed that the Chinese government is developing an information warfare division for use in possible future conflicts.
The Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2007 report (PDF) suggests that, in addition to the Red Army's army, navy, air force and rocket arms, the Chinese government is putting together a team to deal with "electronic and online arenas ".
"People's Liberation Army authors often cite the need in modern warfare to control information, sometimes termed an 'information blockade'," says the report.
"China is pursuing this ability by improving information and operational security, developing electronic warfare and information warfare capabilities, and denial and deception.
"China's concept of an 'information blockade' likely extends beyond the strictly military realm to include other elements of state power."
The report suggests that the People's Republic of China is developing teams to handle computer network attack, defence and exploitation with a separate section handling electronic countermeasures.
It cites logistics systems and satellite communications as possible targets, and claims that exercises have been held in cooperation with other Red Army arms since 2005.
The report also mentions an article on the subject which appeared in the November 2006 Liberation Army Daily.
"[The] mechanism to get the upper hand of the enemy in a war under conditions of 'informatisation' finds prominent expression in whether or not we are capable of using various means to obtain information and of ensuring the effective circulation of information; whether or not we are capable of making full use of the permeability, sharable property, and connection of information to realise the organic merging of materials, energy and information to form a combined fighting strength; [and] whether or not we are capable of applying effective means to weaken the enemy side's information superiority and lower the operational efficiency of enemy information equipment," the article states.
Nato has its own information warfare specialists, currently deployed in Estonia which suffered an online attack last week. Attacks on the country continue.
US claims China has online army 'ready to strike'
By Iain Thomson on May 30, 2007 10:25AM