On Tuesday, April 5, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) officials said that the Special Operation Command and Cyber Command would address the China-Russia growing threat and counter-adversary activities in gray areas.
In addition, the U.S. Department of State’s new Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy was officially established on April 4 to handle cybersecurity issues.
At a hearing held by the U.S. Committee on Armed Services on April 5, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Christopher P. Maier, said that today’s strategic environment was complex and diverse. As a result, it is more important than ever for the U.S. special operations troops and national security agency to be more “adaptive, innovative, and agile.”
China and Russia in the gray zone
In his written testimony to Congress, Maier said, “China is our pacing challenge, Russia is an immediate threat to our Allies and partners.” He claimed that in today’s security environment, they saw adversaries acting in ‘gray zones’ or levels below armed conflict, where they hoped to avoid a conventional military response from the U.S.
General Richard D. Clarke, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, also gave his testimony at the hearing. He said that rivals such as China and Russia continue to “act assertively in the information ‘gray zone’ to manipulate populations worldwide” and pursue global dominance.
Clarke told senators that they had witnessed Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, China’s behavior in the Indo-Pacific, and other countries and groups, including violent extremist groups, trying to sow the seeds of instability.
According to the $773 billion spending proposal sent to Congress on March 28, the Biden administration’s 2023 budget request remains focused on China.
President Joe Biden submitted an $813.3 billion budget plan, representing a 4% rise over the enacted fiscal year’s $782 billion for national defense spending for 2022.
Last week, Biden emphasized the importance of dealing with military competition from China and Russia, in addition to dealing with terrorist organizations.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III also issued a statement on the fiscal year 2023 budget, saying the DoD’s budget reflects the national security strategy and focuses on China’s advancing challenges.
State Department sets up new unit to deal with cyber attacks
In addition, cyber-attacks from China and Russia have also become the focus. General Paul M. Nakasone, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, said that China’s military modernization in the past few years might weaken the deterrence of the U.S. in the Western Pacific region.
Nakasone said, “China is a challenge unlike any other we have faced.” Their overarching goal is to build a command that is ready and capable of operating to defend the country. Broader partnerships and world-class talent were linked through the Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture. These elements are essential to national security and critical to facing unprecedented challenges from China.
The Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) was established on April 4. This agency will formulate and coordinate policies to address emerging cybersecurity issues. It will seek to address national security challenges, economic opportunities, and the impact on American values in cyberspace, digital technologies, and digital policy.