Feeds

Pentagon: China threatens space and cyberspace

Commies get nukes, sat-kill lasers, 'electromagnetic dominance' virus units

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A Pentagon report into Chinese military capability says that the People's Republic "is expanding from the traditional land, air, and sea dimensions of the modern battlefield to include space and cyber-space."

The "ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS: Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2007," was released by the Office of the Secretary of Defense on Friday, though elements of it had been leaked earlier.

In it, the US military warns that the Chinese communists are developing new nuclear weapons, spy satellites, anti-spacecraft laser beams and "information warfare units to develop viruses."

The Pentagon analysts suggest that China is seeking to update its relatively small, old-fashioned nuclear arsenal. Beijing at present has just 20 proper ICBMs able to hit targets worldwide, and eighty or ninety other missiles which would only be useful for nuking things in its own backyard. The ICBMs are in traditional, fixed land silos - vulnerable to a stealthy pre-emptive strike. (China does have a single, elderly nuclear-missile submarine, but this isn't seen even by the most hawkish as a serious threat.)

Twenty fixed ICBMs is a bare-minimum deterrent force, putting China very much at the bottom of the major-power nuclear league table behind France and even the UK. The USA might, in the near future, be able to largely disregard such an arsenal. The US missile defence effort, combined perhaps with a pre-emptive American strike, might offer a scenario in which the chance of any Chinese nuke reaching the US mainland was low.

Unsurprisingly, the PRC is moving to upgrade its nuke armoury, in particular by acquiring new ICBM-firing submarines. Once these are in place, China can feel sure once more of its ability to nuke the continental US.

That doesn't mean that the Chinese will do so; indeed the PRC has declared that it will never be the first to use nukes, a stance which the US itself doesn't always take.

But the Pentagon says that "China’s assertion of a nuclear 'no first use' policy ... is ambiguous."

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Yes, Australia's government SHOULD store comms metadata
Not because it's a good idea but because it already operates the infrastructure and processes to do it well
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.