A previously confidential report has been released, and it alleges that Chinese cyberspies have hacked into U.S. security systems and obtained multiple blueprints for U.S. weaponry.
The report was compiled by the Defense Science Board, a senior advisory group made up of public and private experts, and was presented to the Pentagon and other top-tier government officials, warning about the Chinese intrusion.
According to the report, the Chinese were able to obtain designs for over two dozen crucial and highly advanced U.S. weapon programs, including missile defenses and combat aircrafts and ships. The fear now is that, with these plans, the Chinese have accelerated technological development that would have otherwise taken them decades to develop.
The board warned the Pentagon in January that they and their weapon contractors were ill-equipped against full-out cyber conflicts, and the Obama administration has constantly admonished the attempts of the Chinese to infiltrate U.S. defense systems. Now, the Pentagon and the government have directly named the Chinese government and military for U.S. cyber security breaches.
The designs on the Board’s list include regional missile defense systems for Asia, Europe and the Persian Gulf, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Littoral Combat Ship, which has only been recently introduced in the Navy, as well as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is set to become the most expensive weapons system owned by the U.S. military (price tag: $1.4 trillion).
“That’s staggering,” said Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, which is a think tank on Asian security issues, to the Washington Post. “These are all very critical weapons systems, critical to our national security. When I hear this in totality, it’s breathtaking.”
China has also been labeled by the National Intelligence Estimate as the most active country in its attempts to steal U.S. intellectual property.