Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Year of the Trojan Horse?

The Chinese know our military is bigger and better than their military. Yet they assume they'll eventually have to tangle with us before they can hope to match our raw military power. So what to do?

Outsmart us:

China plans to disrupt the American military, not destroy it. China takes for granted that they will be on the defensive, and forced to deal mainly with American air and naval forces. Methods discussed include attacks via the Internet (hacking and such) and electronic warfare (jamming and deceptions). China has been very active in controlling its domestic Internet users, and an increasing number of hacker attacks on U.S. military targets are being traced back to China. There, the government denies everything. Yet their professional journals talk about all the opportunities in this area. There are similar discussions of electronic warfare opportunities.

Remember, that in the main scenario China envisions for fighting America, China doesn't need to defeat America--just slow us down while the Chinese invade and defeat Taiwan.

Could the Chinese infect enough of our weapon and command and contol systems to shatter our confidence--at least in the short run--in all of our forces?

Despite a six-year effort to build trusted computer chips for military systems, the Pentagon now manufactures in secure facilities run by American companies only about 2 percent of the more than $3.5 billion of integrated circuits bought annually for use in military gear.

That shortfall is viewed with concern by current and former United States military and intelligence agency executives who argue that the menace of so-called Trojan horses hidden in equipment circuitry is among the most severe threats the nation faces in the event of a war in which communications and weaponry rely on computer technology.

If American forces begin to maneuver to strike Chinese naval forces poised between our naval/air forces and Taiwan while other Chinese forces invade the island democracy, and some of our weapon systems and command and control gear start going loopy, what will we do?

Will we continue to advance and risk that more systems will fail at critical times in combat? Or will we pull back to figure out what happened? And then watch Taiwan fall while we do that. Will we counter-attack Chinese force dug in on a conquered Taiwan once we've secured our chips weeks or months later?

Remember, if China attacks Taiwan, they'll do so expecting to win despite their inferiority in combat power. Some factor will be the key they believe will allow them to win.

Is this potential chip integrity problem something that Peking thinks will slow us down enough to win?