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"The ability to subdue the enemy without any battle is the ultimate reflection of the most supreme strategy. The best strategy is to attack his relationships and alliances with other nations....[The most adept at warfare] will focus on using effective policies and strategies to keep all his resources intact and yet be able to contest for world supremacy against other states."
Sun Tzu

Deception / Forward Looking Statements

Chinese public communications - official and unofficial - and corporate displays at trade shows, and other such information sources, contain "forward-looking statements" – that is, statements related to future, not past, events. In this context, forward-looking statements often address future activities, and often contain words such as "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "see," "will," "would," “estimate,” “forecast” or "target". Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain. Changes in economic conditions, including oil prices, and other factors may affect the level of funding and performance of the major programs. These or other uncertainties may cause actual future activities to be materially different than those expressed in forward-looking statements.

The challenge in analyzing CHICOM programs in the 20th Century was a paucity of information. Now the challenge is a profusion of information. Some of this forward looking program information is official, some of it is semi-official, and some of it is fanboy speculation. While it is generally possible to identify fanboy activity, there is an abundance of high grade RUMINT that may be a foretaste of things to come, or may be part of the bodyguard of lies, dis-information to raise the noise level to conceal actual programs.

Since 2010 online sources provide a reasonably coherent depiction of Chinese plans to become a peer competitor to the United States to an extent the Soviet Union never achieved. This is largely through the amazing outburst of high-quality artwork, primarily of ships and aircraft, on a scale and of a refinement and coherence, that seems most probably to be of official provenance. The ready availability of powerful computer graphics software has eased the path of the fanboys, but their products are typically one-off fantasies, with evidenty fantastic elements.

Prof. Barton S. Whaley, of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, authored "Deception and Surprise-the Lessons from History. Whaley analyzed the element of surprise in 168 battles in 17 wars 7 from 1914 through 1968. He came up with some impressive statistics on the efficacy of surprise. Out of 50 battles in which intense surprise was achieved, 17 far exceeded the objectives of the initiators, and only one ended in defeat. Conversely, out of 50 battles fought without the advantage of initial surprise, 30 ended in defeat for the initiators, and only one substantially exceeded the attacking commander's expectations.

The perception of the enemy’s deception plan, and even the recognition that he may be practicing deception at all, clearly is a most important element in the warning process. In some cases, it could be the most important element in warning, and particularly of strategic warning.

There is a widespread popular opinion that China is so continually engaged in deceitful practices that American should never believe anything that they say, and that the intelligence analyst and policy maker alike constantly expect and allow for Chinese hypocrisy in all things. This exaggerates the case. It is true that China and all closed societies are highly security conscious and routinely conceals all sorts of information which is common knowledge in open societies. It is of course undeniably true that it is much easier for the dictator or leadership of a closed society to plan and to implement a deception program.

But a pre-requisite for effective deception is to establish some degree of credibility. China cannot afford constantly to lie to the United States. And China is vastly more open to the outside world that was the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

One Chinese description of strategic deception [Yu Qiaohua, “Strategic Deception” [zhanlue qipian], in Chinese Military Encyclopedia, ed. Fu Quanyou, (Beijing: Military Science Publishing House, 2002)] emphasizes its comprehensive nature, broadly targeting an opponent’s strategic assessment process about foreign capabilities and intentions. This authoritative source for a Chinese military audience indicates that strategic deception has specific battlespace applications, but by its nature deception at the strategic level of warfare is not constrained by the physical space of combat actions. Rather, strategic deception is an ongoing process and covers “all types of measures and activities” designed to confuse an opponent in peacetime or wartime, emphasizing the latter. Confusing the opponent then leads him to make “major errors in judgment and decision-making,” since strategic deception aims at foreign intelligence institutions and thus influences the “highest military authorities responsible for formulating strategic decisions.”



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