Chinese theft of sensitive, secretive U.S. military technology continues to be a “huge problem,” despite a cyber cease-fire between both countries, one defense analyst told CNBC.
As President Donald Trump continues his China visit he is likely to bring up Beijing’s theft of U.S. intellectual property — which is something he should do, considering that China is still probably engaged in it.
Indeed, analysts say that hacking and theft of U.S. military technology is one of the biggest reasons why Beijing’s military has managed to dramatically narrow the capabilities gap with the U.S. military in recent years.
Also, a report is warning that by 2030 the Chinese could leap ahead of the U.S. and other near-peer competitors in developing artificial intelligence, which it would then likely apply to military uses.
“What Beijing has been very good at is targeting U.S. defense contractors, getting into their computer systems through various types of essentially cyber warfare and stealing the designs of some of America’s best military assets,” said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest.
As for the cyber-truce, Kazianis said China is still very likely conducting cyber-espionage but disguising it.
“So we don’t even have a good idea if they stopped,” he said. “It’s obviously a huge, huge problem.”
Analyst comment: By stealing our sensitive military data, China has managed to develop some of its own modern systems without incurring anything near the costs incurred by the United States, which is a huge advantage in and of itself. But it’s very likely the cyber-espionage is a two-way street, with U.S. intelligence agencies keeping tabs on Chinese military development via cyber-espionage.
Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2: What are the latest indicators of a U.S.-China conflict? Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region. Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.