Shopping for Blueprints

A troubling piece by Daniel McGroarty of the Carmot Strategic Group in Washington, D.C., explains why China’s recent penetration of the plans for major U.S. weapons systems is so threatening.

"The only thing worse than China apparently stealing the blueprints to the U.S.'s most advanced weapons platforms is that Chinese defense technologists would now be able to posit precisely which sub-systems are most critical to battlefield functionality. If there is a material or alloy that caused U.S. defense designers to stay up nights looking for the optimum performance, China will know it. If there's a function prone to faulting, with consequences critical to overall system performance, China will know that, too.

Clearly, in terms of China's own weapons programs, they'll be able to skip the costly learning curve and go straight to the winning candidate favored in the final U.S. system. But more than that, in terms of counter-measures, they'll know which node in the overall system could reducea U.S. weapons platform to an idling shell, or worse still, render it impotent in the heat of battle."

McGroarty goes on to speculate that perhaps the Chinese could further undermine our weapons systems by introducing inferior components or designed flaws into the supply chain. In this cyber theft, plans were apparently downloaded for the F/A-18 fighter jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the Patriot and Aegis missile systems, among others.

Cybersecurity is national security.

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