Accession Number:



Capability of the People's Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This paper presents a comprehensive open source assessment of Chinas capability to conduct computer network operations CNO both during peacetime and periods of conflict. The result will hopefully serve as useful reference to policymakers, China specialists, and information operations professionals. The research for this project encompassed five broad categories to show how the Peoples Republic of China PRC is pursuing computer network operations CNO and the extent to which it is being implemented by examining a The PLAs strategy for computer network operations at the campaign and strategic level to understand how China is integrating this capability into overall planning efforts and operationalizing it among its field units b Who are the principal institutional and individual actors in Chinese CNO and what linkages may exist between the civilian and military operators c Possible targets of Chinese CNO against the US during a conflict to understand how the PLA might attempt to seize information control over the US or similar technologically advanced military during a conflict d The characteristics of ongoing network exploitation activities targeting the US Government and private sector that are frequently attributed to China e A timeline of alleged Chinese intrusions into US government and industry networks to provide broader context for these activities. The basis for this work was a close review of authoritative open source PLA writings, interviews with Western PLA and information warfare analysts, reviews of Western scholarship on these subjects, and forensic analysis of intrusions into US networks assessed to have Chinese origins. The research draws heavily from journals and articles published by the Chinese National Defense University and the Academy of Military Sciences, the militarys highest authority for issues of doctrine, strategy, and force modernization.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement: