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Unlikely Strategic Partners

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In the past two weeks I have been able to interact with many public/private and military cyber attack/warfare subject matter experts and lawmakers. The first interaction was at the highly attended InfoWarCon event in Washington, D.C., and the second at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Congressional Commission hearing. It has my experience that highly skilled and motivated professionals are highly opinionated and rarely agree, but this was not the case. In fact it was a bit concerning how aligned everyone's opinions were on the topic of the threat posed by cyber espionage and attacks on the national security of the United States.

This does not mean to imply that there were no differences in interpretations of motivations behind events, but all the main points were very tightly clustered together in what I would deem as consensus on the current degree of cyber warfare and security risk.

One point I found particularly interesting was that in multiple conversations about China's cyber weapons capabilities Russia came up as well. Previous blog posts estimated Chinese and Russian cyber capabilities as well as a posting that discussed how comparable Chinese, Russian and U.S. cyber capabilities were. In addition, I testified that China and Russia seemed to be collaborating. Here are some reasons cited during the hearing.

1. Chinese direct investments in Russia.2. China and Russia held joint military exercises.3. China and Russia signed cooperative agreement on encryption.4. Russia in China. Discussed their 200+ political, economic, military and cultural programs.5. The Russian Business Network seemed to have substantial presence in China for a brief period.6. Russia and China have very similar opinions about cyber warfare and have publicly equated cyber warfare with kinetic war.7. Joint discussion about Russia's massive natural gas and oil reserves and China's growing hunger for the two critical resources.

All of the discussions around the subject of Chinese and Russian started me thinking about the likelihood of China and Russia to collaborate and coordinate their cyber warfare capabilities, doctrine and strategies.Which Nation is More of a Cyber Security Threat?(online surveys)

-- Kevin Coleman

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