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May 29, 2013

China Announces Digitalized Combat Forces

by VOA News

China's state news agency says the Chinese army will conduct an exercise next month to test new types of combat forces, including units using digital technology.

Xinhua reported Wednesday the drill marks the first time China's military will focus on digitalized combat forces to be used in "informationalized war."

The announcement of the digitalized combat forces comes as U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to talk about cybersecurity next week with Chinese President Xi Jinping, amid fresh reports of cyber attacks on critical American defense systems.

U.S. officials have not commented on the latest reports, but White House spokesman Jay Carney says he is certain cybersecurity will be discussed when President Obama meets with President Xi in California.  Carney calls the issue a "key concern" for the administration that U.S. officials raise at every level in meetings with Chinese counterparts.

Monday, The Washington Post newspaper published parts of a confidential defense report accusing Chinese cyberspies of compromising some of the most sensitive and advanced U.S. weapons systems.

Classified sections of the report outlined more than two-dozen breaches of missile defense and other weapons systems by Chinese hackers, including many that had not been previously reported.

China firmly denies involvement in the hacking attempts.  It has also returned the accusation, saying U.S.-based hackers have attacked several Chinese military websites.

The defense report says the weapons designs the hackers compromised include the advanced Patriot missile system and the Navy's Aegis ballistic missile defense system.  Vital aircraft and ships, such as the F/A-18 fighter jet, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, are also reported to have been targeted.