State, Pentagon at odds on Chinese cyber attacks

The State Department and Pentagon are odds over the threat posed by Chinese cyber attacks, a former White House official said Aug. 30.

Michael Green, currently senior vice president for Asia and Japan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank, said during a panel discussion on President Obama’s visit to China.

“The the view on cyber is quite divided between the State Department and the Pentagon,” Green said. “The Pentagon’s view I would surmise as being we are already in a state of cyber warfare with China and Russia, in real time.”

The State Department, however, is focused on “cyber dialogues and efforts to talk about cyber,” he said. “I think the reality lies more in the Pentagon’s view of what’s happening with China.”

Green said it is unlikely the Obama administration will succeed in reaching an agreement with China on cyber security. “And part of that is because the deterrent side of it – the cost to China hasn’t been established,” Green said.

China has conducted a series of damaging cyber attacks on the United States, stealing 22 million records of federal employees from the Office of Personnel Management and another 80 million personal records from the nationwide healthcare provider Anthem.

The administration has taken no action against China for the attacks and instead has relied on promises from China not to conduct further attacks.

Cyber Threat Brief
Sept. 1, 2016