China is working to modernize its military program to strengthen its capabilities in cyber space, according to a new Pentagon report.

Less than one month after Chinese military officials pledged to work with the U.S. on cyber issues, the Pentagon last week released its annual report on China to advise that the nation appears to be stepping up its efforts to engage in cyber espionage and electronic warfare.

“China is using its computer network exploitation capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs,” the Pentagon wrote in the nearly 100-page report. “The information targeted could potentially be used to benefit China’s defense industry, high technology industries, policymaker interest in U.S. leadership thinking on key China issues, and military planners building a picture of U.S. network defense networks, logistics, and related military.”

The report went on to suggest that China is playing a “disruptive role” in efforts made by groups like the U.N. and ASEAN Regional Forum to establish international cyber transparency.

In preparing for electronic warfare, the Pentagon said China’s strategy “stresses that it is a vital fourth dimension to combat and should be considered equally with traditional ground, sea, and air forces.”

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Michelle Kincaid is a DC-based public affairs professional specializing in technology policy. She is creator of the blog CybersecurityNews.org.
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