This important report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. In 2013, Mandiant published a report linking one People's Liberation Army (PLA) unit to the virtual exploitation of 11 modern U.S. military platforms. In the last two decades, Chinese cyber espionage has cultivated a significant reputation in cyberspace for its high-volume, illicit exploitation of defense technology. At the same time, the PLA has also rapidly modernized its naval, fighter jet, and air defense technologies. This thesis examines trends in Chinese cyber espionage, PLA modernization, and PLA acquisitions methods to determinefrom only open-source informationif the categories are related and, if so, the nature of the relationship.
Defense reports suggest there is a strong correlation between China's virtual exfiltration of modern U.S. technology and the PLA's rapid advancement; cyber espionage is the principal driver for PLA modernization. This thesis asks: Does cyber espionage really play a central role in PLA modernization, or does it simply complement alternate procurement methods? This thesis draws from case studies of China's overt acquisitions, indigenous research, and physical espionage operations to demonstrate that the majority of the PLA's modernized military platforms were developed from non-cyber acquisition methods. These studies support this thesis's conclusion that cyber espionage is not the critical component driving forward PLA modernization.
CHAPTER I - INTRODUCTION * A. MAJOR RESEARCH QUESTION AND FINDINGS * B. SIGNIFICANCE * C. LITERATURE REVIEW * D. POTENTIAL EXPLANATIONS AND RESEARCH DESIGN * E. THESIS ORGANIZATION * CHAPTER II - DEFINING KEY CYBER TERMS * A. TRADITIONAL ESPIONAGE VERSUS CYBER ESPIONAGE * B. UNDER CYBER WARFARE'S UMBRELLA: COMPARING THE SPECTRUM OF CYBER APPLICATIONS * C. CATEGORIZATIONS OF CYBER ACTORS: HACKER GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS * 1. Advanced Persistent Threats * 2. Cyber and Information Warfare Militias * 3. The Underground Hacking Economy * 4. Individual Hackers as Hactivists, Patriotic Hackers, White-Hat Hackers, and Cyberterrorists * D. INFORMATIONIZATION * CHAPTER III - PLA MODERNIZATION MEETS INFORMATIONIZATION * A. THE FIRST WAVE: PLA MODERNIZATION FROM 1978-1988 * B. THE SECOND WAVE: PLA MODERNIZATION FROM 1989-1996 * C. THE THIRD WAVE: PLA MODERNIZATION FROM 1997-2003 * 1. Defense White Papers as Doctrinal Guidance for PLA Modernization * 2. International Events Thrusting forward Modernization Efforts * 3. Adopting a Modern Chinese Cyber Strategy * a. The Chinese Academy of Military Sciences' Cyber Experimentation * b. Document 27 Emerges as the Blueprint for China's Cyber Strategy * 4. Physical Modernization Developments
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