- Network-centric warfare - "Militarily, the information revolution has given rise to an increasing reliance on situational awareness, weather monitoring, surveillance, communication, and precision strikes. Chinese military strategists have made special note of the US reliance on, and dominance with, electronic means in the Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraqi conflicts"
- Information operations - "...activities include PSYOPS troops who try to manipulate the adversary’s thoughts and beliefs, military deception and disinformation, media warfare, electronic warfare (EW), and computer network operations (CNO). Thus Information Operations Roadmap stands as an another example of the US commitment to transform military capabilities to keep pace with emerging threats and to exploit new opportunities afforded by innovation and rapidly developing information technologies."
- Future combat systems - "...places a particular emphasis on advanced robotics, including Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), Unmanned Aerial Combat Vehicles (UCAVs), Non- Line of Sight Launch Systems, and Unattended Systems. This system of systems seeks to make warfare as networked as the internet, as mobile as a mobile phone, and as intuitive as a video game. "
The report summarizes the importance of military cyber capabilities within China:
"The information revolution has given more power to individuals and increased globalization through the interconnectedness of economies, rapid dissemination of news, and improved access to communication and information of all types. Any attempt to compete on a global level without the use of these technologies would place the PRC at a significant military and financial disadvantage. For this reason, the benefits of electronic reliance outweigh the risks involved. Further, it is impossible for a state to develop a defence against cyber warfare without simultaneously learning how to execute attacks themselves."
The report also discusses the linkage between "offensive" and "defensive" capabilities:
"To learn how to conduct cyber security, the Chinese must have a full understanding of how attacks are conducted; therefore they will learn offence along with the defence - the two are inseparable. China has repeatedly stated its goal of military modernization, and cyber warfare is where modern militaries are headed. However, cyber warfare would unlikely be used alone. It could be used simultaneously with a traditional attack, perhaps as a first blow to take an opponent off guard, or in tandem with multiple non-traditional attacks, such as PSYOPS and economic operations, or variants of each. Additional combined tactics that will be discussed in the following sections include cyber attack, cyber reconnaissance, and market dominance."
Based on this concept the report delves into several cyber capabilities including:
- Internet security
- Cyber reconnaissance and attack
- Security hacking
- Military applications of hacking
The paper concludes:
"This research has shown that China seeks to leapfrog in military competitiveness by utilizing cyber warfare. Chinese military doctrine places an emphasis on asymmetric attack. Cyber warfare epitomizes this a low cost means of levelling the playing field. Cyber attack strikes at a superior adversary’s weakness – in the case of the US, a heavy reliance on hi-tech computerized weaponry and a civilian population reliant on an unsecured computer infrastructure. Cyber reconnaissance follows China’s tradition of technology transfer and reverse engineering for domestic production as a means of leapfrogging. Cyber reconnaissance gives the added benefit of providing deniability, low cost, a lack of legal framework against it, and the removal of geographical distance."
How China Will Use Cyber Warfare to Leapfrog in Military Competitiveness