China establishes new military unit for networked warfare

Amid global concerns over cyber threats, China unveils its latest move in modernizing its military capabilities.


China has taken a significant step in modernising its military by establishing the Information Support Force (ISF) to bolster its ability to wage networked warfare. President Xi Jinping formally inaugurated the ISF, emphasising its crucial role in ensuring the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) can succeed in modern conflicts. The ISF aims to develop a network information system tailored to the demands of contemporary warfare, enhancing the PLA’s combat capabilities.

The creation of the ISF consolidates China’s cyberspace and aerospace capabilities under a unified command within the Strategic Support Force. President Xi’s leadership underscores the strategic importance of this new force in advancing China’s military strength across all domains. While specific details of the ISF’s operations remain undisclosed, its establishment aligns with Xi’s broader vision for China’s military modernisation, particularly in light of the PLA’s upcoming centennial anniversary in 2027.

China’s emphasis on information warfare reflects a global recognition of the critical role of communication in modern conflict. However, concerns persist regarding China’s aggressive cyber activities, with FBI Director Christopher Wray characterising China as a persistent threat to US infrastructure. Wray highlighted China’s extensive hacking capabilities, fueled by the theft of intellectual property and data, and emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts to counter these threats.

The FBI’s response to Chinese cyber operations involves close coordination with various entities, including the US Cyber Command, foreign law enforcement agencies, and private sector partners. Wray emphasised the role of partnerships in confronting Beijing’s cyber aggression, stressing the need for proactive engagement from potential victims to mitigate the impact of cyber intrusions. By leveraging collaboration and information sharing, efforts to combat Chinese cyber threats aim to protect critical infrastructure and safeguard against future attacks.