Cyber War-Games

The Pentagon has long worried about the vulnerability of its computer systems. Its concern has grown as the military becomes more dependent, not only on its own computers, but also on those of its contractors including providers of fuel and electricity. The threat is perceived so seriously that in 2011 the pentagon changed its policy on cyber attacks and classified them as "acts of war". According to the pentagon "A response to a cyber-incident or attack on the US would not necessarily be a cyber-response. All appropriate options would be on the table”.

China is the US main cyber threat.Chinese hackers are constantly trying to burrow their way into US military systems, attempting hundreds of attacks each and every month. This new reality have brought the US and China to partake in secret cyber war games that are designed to prevent an escalation that will lead to an all out confrontation between the two countries.

The war games were organized by the Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in cooperation with the Chinese Institute of International Studies. Two war games were conducted in 2011 and a third is scheduled to take place next month. This set up allows US government officials and intelligence personal to fraternize with their Chinese colleagues in a sort of casual environment. On both sides, State and DOD personal start off as observers and gradually get involved in the games.

In the first war game, both sides were required to describe their actions under a computer virus attack (much like the virus that crippled Iran's uranium centrifuges). In the second game, they were requested to describe their reaction to the knowledge that the other side is the one responsible for the attack. According to Jim Lewis, a senior associate at the IISS, they saw amazing occurrences in both games, although naturally the second game was a lot less friendly. The effects of the games are of course limited, since no side will actually want to reveal their actual game plan on such a sensitive matter, one that involves highly secret technological systems.

The needs for this type of encounters has risen in recent months, both the US and the UK have made it clear to China that they hold her responsible for thefts from weapon manufacturers, government offices and private companies that sum up to billions of dollars. Experts view the Chinese actions as "Battle preparations", the US military also stressed out that they're starting to shift their focus from Europe and the Middle East to Asia to try and protect US interests in the region.

The threat is imminent because out of all of the dozens of countries that are involved in cyber terrorism against the US, China is the only one that is a potential military enemy. The last thing the world needs is a Third World War between China and the US over a misunderstanding.

China of course denies its involvement in cyber attacks against the US and other western countries and also claims that they are victims of cyber attacks themselves. But behind the scenes there is a Chinese realization that the US isn't as powerful as it used to be and that the balance is tipping in her favor now. Much like the US, the Chinese view the US as a potential target and military enemy. After being subjected to imperialism and to a decade of humiliation they are suspicious towards anything western oriented and regard themselves as victims of terrible injustice, an injustice that the US plans to maintain.

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