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Chinese Cyber Economic Espionage: Motivations And Responses

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Alleged Chinese cyber economic espionage periodically fills headlines, Internet security company reports, Congressional hearing transcripts, and official and semi-official pronouncements. Despite the apparent recognition of a problem, the US has been seemingly ineffective in deterring or dissuading continued Chinese cyber activity despite the potential significant impact to economic and national security. While accurate calculations on the cost of stolen intellectual property to US businesses are nearly impossible to determine, some estimates suggest hundreds of billions of dollars per year independent of broader and more sinister implications for the future of US competitiveness. Why China, apparently, believes it must steal at the expense of the United States, and why the United States has been unable to stem it, are crucial national security questions. An analysis of Chinas strategic ambitions, coupled with national policies designed to achieve them, illuminate possible answers. Similarly, an examination of the US response during the Obama Administration highlights the interplay between policy development and the influence of domestic politics, corporate interests, and narratives.

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