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China Still Relying on Spying on Others to Steal Latest Military Technology: Pentagon

China uses a variety of methods to acquire foreign military and dual-use technologies, including targeted foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploitation of private Chinese nationals' access to these technologies

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FILE - A nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarine of the Chinese People's Liberation Army's navy is seen during a military display in the South China Sea, April 12, 2018. VOA

China’s two decades of military modernization has paid off big in missile development and domains like cyber and space, but the Pentagon says China is still relying on spying on others to steal the latest military technology.

“China uses a variety of methods to acquire foreign military and dual-use technologies, including targeted foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploitation of private Chinese nationals’ access to these technologies, as well as … computer intrusions and other illicit approaches,” according to a congressionally mandated Pentagon report released Thursday.

Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, told reporters Friday at the Pentagon that China frequently uses tactics that fall just short of armed conflict to reach its goal of becoming a “world-class military by 2049,” from threats and coercion against media and academia to jamming systems against ships in international waters in the South China Sea.

military technology
FILE – The Chinese navy’s guided missile destroyer Guiyang takes part in a naval parade off the eastern port city of Qingdao, April 23, 2019. VOA

The report said China has used these illicit approaches to acquire military-grade technologies from the United States that ranged from antisubmarine to aviation equipment.

He said the Chinese were “very aggressive” with modernization and had made “significant progress” in their ballistic and cruise missile development, but he stopped short of calling Beijing an adversary.  “We certainly don’t see conflict with China, and it doesn’t preclude cooperation where interests align,” Schriver told reporters.

Arctic

The report also shows increased Chinese activities in the Arctic region.  Arctic states have expressed concerns that Beijing could use its presence there to strengthen China’s military reach, mirroring worries about Chinese military presence in Africa and Latin America following its Belt and Road economic initiative.

“Civilian research could support a strengthened Chinese military presence in the Arctic Ocean, which could include deploying submarines to the region as a deterrent against nuclear attacks,” the report notes.

military technology
FILE – The Chinese navy’s 055-class guided missile destroyer Nanchang takes part in a naval parade off the eastern port city of Qingdao, April 23, 2019. VOA

The Pentagon report noted that European allies like Denmark have expressed concern about Chinese proposals to establish a research station and a satellite ground station in Greenland.

Concentration camps

Schriver also noted the U.S. military’s concern that the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Military Commission has taken sole authority of the People’s Armed Police, China’s primary force for internal security.

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He accused China of imprisoning close to 3 million Chinese Muslims in “concentration camps” that “erode the rules-based order.” He later defended his description, which harks back to the Jewish concentration camps in Nazi Germany, as appropriate, given the magnitude of the Chinese detentions and the goals of the camps based on public comments from the Chinese government. (VOA)

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Pentagon Outlines its First Artificial Intelligence Strategy

The plan calls for accelerating the use of AI systems throughout the military, from intelligence-gathering operations to predicting maintenance problems in planes or ships.

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The plan calls for accelerating the use of AI systems throughout the military, from intelligence-gathering operations to predicting maintenance problems in planes or ships. Pixabay

The U.S. military wants to expand its use of artificial intelligence in warfare, but says it will take care to deploy the technology in accordance with the nation’s values.

The Pentagon outlined its first AI strategy in a report released Tuesday.

The plan calls for accelerating the use of AI systems throughout the military, from intelligence-gathering operations to predicting maintenance problems in planes or ships. It urges the U.S. to advance such technology swiftly before other countries chip away at its technological advantage.

“Other nations, particularly China and Russia, are making significant investments in AI for military purposes, including in applications that raise questions regarding international norms and human rights,” the report says.

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The Pentagon outlined its first AI strategy in a report released Tuesday. Pixabay

The report makes little mention of autonomous weapons but cites an existing 2012 military directive that requires humans to be in control.

The U.S. and Russia are among a handful of nations that have blocked efforts at the United Nations for an international ban on “killer robots” — fully autonomous weapons systems that could one day conduct war without human intervention. The U.S. has argued that it’s premature to try to regulate them.

The strategy unveiled by the Department of Defense this week is focused on more immediate applications, but even some of those have sparked ethical debates.

The Pentagon hit a roadblock in its AI efforts last year after internal protests at Google led the tech company to drop out of Project Maven, which uses algorithms to interpret aerial video images from conflict zones. Other companies have sought to fill the vacuum, and the Pentagon is working with AI experts from industry and academia to establish ethical guidelines for its AI applications.

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“Everything we’ve seen is with a human decision-maker in the loop,” said Todd Probert, a vice president at Raytheon’s intelligence division, which is working with the Pentagon on Maven and other projects. “It’s using technology to help speed up the process but not supplant the command structure that’s in place.”

The Pentagon’s report follows President Donald Trump’s Monday executive order prioritizing AI research across the government. (VOA)