US `CYBERCOM` may cause new arms race: Chinese analysts

US` announcement to set up Cyber Command, which is aimed at gaining military supremacy in cyber space, may trigger new arms race, strategic analysts have warned.

Beijing: The US` announcement to set up a
Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), which is aimed at gaining military
supremacy in cyber space, might trigger a new arms race,
Chinese strategic analysts have warned.

"It has already had the lead in conventional military
and nuclear forces. Now it is expanding this advantage to be
the leading force in new fields, such as electromagnetic space
and outer space," state-run China Daily quoted Peng Guangqian,
a Beijing-based strategist, as saying.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, recently,
announced the establishment of the world`s first
comprehensive, multi-service military cyber operation, called
CYBERCOM, which could provide US forces a lead in new emerging
strategic fields like space and outer space.

The announcement came only a few days after President
Barack Obama laid out his National Security Strategy,
stressing for the first time in such a document the importance
of cyber security as one of the core national security
interests, he said.

Meng Xiangqing, a professor with the National Defence
University said there is a very thin line between a defensive
and an offensive act when it comes to cyber space.

"CYBERCOM ranks high in the US military, reporting
directly to the US Strategic Command, and the US is the most
advanced state in cyber technology. This absolute advantage
may trigger a new type of arms race," Meng said.

Despite the US insisting CYBERCOM is mainly defencive,
Meng said it "has raised a new challenge for China, and that
is how to guard our national cyber security."

States other than the US have already been planning
mechanisms to guard national cyber security, including the UK,
France, Russia, South Korea and Israel, which already has a
military cyber force.

Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based military strategist,
said even if other countries join in the cyber arms race, they
are not capable of competing with the US since it possesses
the core technologies of the Internet and of all 13 Internet
root servers in the world, 10 are in the US, including the
only one main root server.

The newspaper also reported the comments of US Deputy
Defence Secretary William J Lynn III that the potential enemy
that CYBERCOM will fight has not yet been clearly identified.

"I think we need to be prepared for the unexpected. In
fact, over the past several years we have experienced damaging
penetrations," Lynn had said apparently referring alleged
attempts by Chinese hackers to break into sensitive defence
sites.

PTI

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