Inside the Ring
to reform government efforts in the area is moving ahead under the Obama administration.
Mr. McConnell, a retired Navy vice admiral, is quoted in the exhibit as presenting a “nightmare scenario” of a cyber attack on the United States that might be carried out in the heat of the Fourth of July holiday or the winter cold of Jan. 1. It would involve a cyber attack against banks and the electric power grid, shutting down the flow of electricity to homes in the Northeast.
“I would argue this could create chaos,” with a relatively small number of people behind the attack and with relatively low cost, he said.
Peter Earnest, museum director and a former CIA officer, said the goal of the new display is to heighten public awareness of the threat posed by cyber attacks.
“These daily attacks can gather intelligence and have the potential to manipulate, disrupt and even control computers and computer networks in our country,” he said. “They could possibly damage or even bring down portions of the electrical grid resulting in widespread chaos and the breakdown of law and order, all exacerbated by the deteriorating state of much of our national transportation, communications, financial and water supply infrastructure.” more easily deployed “shock divisions.”
“The Soviets, like the NATO armies, had found that armored divisions are too unwieldy in complex terrain and an armored battle group [based around a battalion headquarters] is easier to control and can still execute its mission,” the book stated. “The PLA has adopted the philosophy behind this reorganization.”
Chinese troops are being formed into air mechanized and fast wheeled forces as a “lance” to break through enemy defenses and strike at rear areas. Heavy tanks would be used, followed by a holding force of heavy mechanized troops used as a “bulldozer blade” to thwart counterattacks.
Recent joint Chinese-Russian exercises in July demonstrated some of these new-style ground force strategies. They were followed by military maneuvers called “Stride 2009” in August and September that showcased the movement of large groups of Chinese military forces over wide geographic areas in live-fire drills.
“For the first time, civilian rail and air transportation are being utilized along with military resources in a long-range multiple deployment exercise,” the book stated. “The lessons learned from Stride 2009 will iron out any logistics issues for deploying mechanized units inside China and confirm the PLA’s ability to move modern combat power inside its borders.”
Key PLA developments include an increase in special operations forces that would be used in a conflict over Taiwan; for enhancing military power projection; and in pre-emptive strikes as part of what the Chinese call “active defense.”
“Accordingly, PLA special forces have expanded their role from traditional reconnaissance operations to include counterterrorism, hostage rescue, combat search and rescue and direct attack missions,” the book stated.
Several Chinese weapons systems were developed from U.S. or European systems, including China’s FB-6A surface-to-air missile that is a knockoff of the U.S. Army’s Humvee-mounted Stinger missile called Avenger. China’s Z-9 attack helicopter is developed from the Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin II helicopter that is produced under license by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corp. The helicopter is used for several missions, including attack and reconnaissance versions, and is equipped with a nose-mounted thermal imaging seeker.
Among the more exotic weapons outlined in the book are silenced assault rifles, a gun used for riot control that injects anaesthetic into targets, and a shoulder-fired laser dazzler that can blind enemy troops from about 150 feet away.
China has about 8,000 older main battle tanks and some 1,400 advanced tanks.
The PLA also developed its first indigenous attack unmanned aerial vehicle for surveillance, reconnaissance, fire control, target positioning and precision strike.