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Hardly detetctable and subtle - but China is steadily gaining in strength. In this case it is technology and learning everything they can from the US - including cyber-espionage.

In 2001 the Pentagon claimed that the Navy may have lost some military secrets to the Chineese after a reconnaissance plane had to make an emergency landing in China:

" Asked whether some intelligence was lost, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said, ''We feel there was.''

Crew members of the EP-3 plane tried to do their best to destroy secret material on board before or after landing on Hainan Island, but ''it wasn't perfect,'' Quigley told a news briefing."

In the summer of 2007 China attacked Defense Department computers which left computers offline for 3 weeks:

Pentagon investigators could not definitively link the cyber attack to the Chinese military, the source said, but the technology was sophisticated enough that it indicated to Pentagon officials 45 as well as those in charge of computer security 45 that it came from within the Chinese government.

Over the past several years the U.S. has changed public stance from publicly admitting direct involvement of China to the stance of not willing to name names.

China is a superpower in waiting. Many computer security experts warn of the likelihood that the next war will be largely fought in cyberspace where taking out electronic equipment or computers will be an effective way to blind enemies. The past several years China hackers have come on strong with their abilities.

Now a report by the Guardian claims that Chineese hackers have been stealing sensitive data from the U.S. including from NASA, the Defence Department, and the Pentagon. In recent days it has become so great that they have ordered a ban on external hardware devices (such as USB keys, CD's, DVD's, etc...).

The commission recommends that the US upgrade its intelligence and homeland security systems protecting computer networks. It quotes the Chinese military strategist, Wang Huacheng, as describing US dependence on space assets and information technology as its "soft ribs".

"China could use laser technology to blind temporarily a US reconnaissance satellite operating over international waters. This action could be viewed by many as purely defensive. However, China also could use its ASAT capability to destroy a US satellite operating over its territory."

"China has significant anti-satellite capabilities. The capabilities go far beyond those demonstrated in the January 2007 'test' that destroyed an obsolete Chinese weather satellite. They include co-orbital direct attack weapons and directed energy weapons for dazzling or damaging satellites, both of which currently are under development."

China has the capabilities - does it have the desire?

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