Re-post: Non-Kinetic Warfare and China

Re-post: Non-Kinetic Warfare and China

I am getting a little bogged with work and home projects so I thought I would re-post a previously written article just to move my mug down a slot when I click to update the page.

A friend of mine has been helping me to try to summarize the purpose of this Project in a sentence or two. Boil it down to why I wanted to start this blog and why I think it is important for our current warfighters. War and warfare have always evolved and it is my belief that we are on the cusp of completely having to rethink how we fight. A full-on State to State competition will simply be too costly and no one really wants to fight toe to toe. Modern warfare must remain below the threshold of total war and a nuclear response. This may mean a return to a more historical, pre-Westphalian style of warfare. While I was studying at Penn State, I was introduced to the concept of Hybrid War and how the traditional lines of battle will be blurred in ways never before seen. The 9-11 Commission Report condemned our systemic ‘failure of imagination’. But is that true? Tom Clancy predicted a 9-11 style of attack in Debt of Honor. I am attempting to better prepare our warfighters for the modern Great Game by exposing them to a wide variety of information that they may not have considered. Simply put, the only limits to Hybrid Warfare, are our imagination.

To expound the concept of Hybrid Warfare today we are going to look more closely at China. But first, some grounding.

Hybrid Warfare  

Hybrid warfare as defined by Beth Daily on The Conversation

Refers to the use of unconventional methods as part of a multi-domain warfighting approach. These methods aim to disrupt and disable an opponent’s actions without engaging in open hostilities… [where] Such warfare is conducted in the “grey zone” of conflict, meaning operations may not clearly cross the threshold of war. That might be due to the ambiguity of international law, ambiguity of actions and attribution, or because the impact of the activities does not justify a response.


Earlier this week we discussed a New York Times article where China was limiting the flow of the Mekong River Region deliberately causing the worst drought in living memory. Why? Does China seek or need more hydroelectric power or are they trying to pressure or influence the five downstream nations — Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam?

Then I read this by the Editor-in-Chief of Build, a daily German Newspaper. I don’t care if it’s a tabloid the point he makes about China is this:

  1. You rule by surveillance. You wouldn’t be president without surveillance.
  2. Surveillance is a denial of freedom. And a nation that is not free, is not creative. A nation that is not innovative, does not invent anything. This is why you have made your country the world champion in intellectual property theft.

China enriches itself with the inventions of others, instead of inventing on its own. The reason China does not innovate and invent is that you don’t let the young people in your country think freely. China’s greatest export hit (that nobody wanted to have, but which has nevertheless gone around the world) is Corona.

Point number two reminded me of a paper I wrote in one of my core Homeland Security classes about Huawei (which I will post in several segments starting next week) and how they encourage intellectual property theft. If you don’t understand how big of a problem this is, follow these links, here, here and here. Simply put, 1 in 5 corporations say that China has stolen their intellectual property within the last year. Here is a list of the top 10 cases of Chinese theft which can be found and explained in more depth here:

  1. The Wind Turbine Case

A decade ago, American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) was a high-tech, high-growth software success story. Spun out of MIT and headquartered in Ayer, Massachusetts, AMSC developed world-class technology for software to control the wind turbines.

  1. The Oreo White Case

In 2014, federal prosecutors launched an industrial espionage case by showing the jury an Oreo, the famous Nabisco cookie. The white Oreo cream filling uses the chemical titanium dioxide (TiO2) to achieve that brilliant white color.  Automotive paint and hundreds of other industrial products use TiO2, making it a highly valuable chemical. American manufacturer Dupont has long had a world-leading proprietary multi-stage process for producing titanium dioxide.  In 2012, chemical engineer Walter Liew was charged with secretly conspiring to steal Dupont technology over the course of 14 years for the benefit of Chinese chemical manufacturers.

  1. The Motorola Case

On February 28, 2007, a Motorola engineer named Hanjuan Jin was stopped by customs agents at O’Hare Airport. They searched her and found she had $30,000 in cash, a carry-on bag full of Motorola documents marked “confidential and proprietary,” and a one-way ticket for Beijing. She was arrested.

In 2012, she was sentenced to four years in prison and a fine of $20,000. At the trial, the judge said: “The most important thing this country can do is protect its trade secrets.”

  1. The Iowa Seed Corn Case

In 2014, six Chinese nationals were arrested for attempting to steal genetically modified corn seeds from Dupont and Monsanto experimental farms in Iowa. The conspirators were employed by Chinese conglomerate DBN and its corn seed subsidiary, Kings Nower Seed. The Chinese government puts a high priority on agricultural development to feed its large and growing population.

  1. The Tappy the Robot Case

When a telecom company allows engineers from its suppliers into its carefully guarded testing labs, those engineers are expected to obey all the rules laid down by their customer. Two engineers from Chinese supplier Huawei used a 2014 visit to T-Mobile’s labs in Seattle to steal information and even a piece of confidential T-Mobile equipment, Tappy the Robot. T-Mobile used Tappy’s fast-moving fingers to test the performance of the smartphones it sold. Not only did they take photos of Tappy, the Huawei engineers stole one of his fingertips.

  1. The CLIFBAW case

In 2015, the federal government charged six Chinese citizens with stealing wireless communications technology from two Silicon Valley microchip makers, Avago and Skyworks, and launching their own company to sell that technology in China.  (Avago is now known as Broadcom.)

  1. The Allen Ho TVA/Nuclear Power case

In August 2017, Taiwanese-American engineer Allen Ho was sentenced to two years in prison for providing nuclear energy technology information to China’s state-owned China General Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC). According to the indictment, Ho, a naturalized American citizen, used his company Energy Technology International, which was based at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, to gather information on the production of nuclear material from American nuclear power developers including the Tennessee Valley Authority and pass that information to the CGNPC.  Ho engaged in these activities between 1997 and 2016, through his own efforts and that of unnamed consultants he hired.

  1. The File Storage and China National Health case

According to a May 2017 Department of Justice press release, Chinese spy Xu Jiaqiang stole data storage technology from a US storage technology company for the benefit of China’s health system, the National Health and Family Planning Commission. He then communicated with two undercover FBI agents and offered to sell them the so-called clustered file storage technology from the unnamed victim company. He explained to the undercover cops how to set up a network of servers and uploaded the proprietary storage software onto the servers. He offered to show them how to edit the software to eliminate any trace of the name of the victim company from the screen prompts. At a meeting in a hotel room on Dec. 7, 2015, Xu showed the undercover cops the proprietary software on his laptop and boasted of multiple other “customers” to whom he had provided the stolen software. He was arrested.

  1. The Unit 61398 Case

In May 2014, federal prosecutors charged five members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China with cyberhacking their way into the confidential computer files of four US companies and one labor union. The five military men were allegedly members of Unit 61398, a unit of the PLA dedicated to cyberhacking. The companies that were hacked included aluminum producer Alcoa, nuclear power plant producer Westinghouse, solar cell manufacturer SolarWorld, Allegheny Technologies Inc., and labor union United Steel Workers.  SolarWorld said that a key proprietary technology for making solar cells more efficient was stolen in this hack and turned over to a Chinese competitor.

  1. The Great Firewall Case

The Great Wall of China was built to keep out invaders. The so-called Great Firewall is a network of software tools China uses to control what Internet information and websites Chinese citizens have access to. You would think that if a totalitarian Communist nation wanted to control what its citizens could see and read, it would carefully construct its own software.

Which brings me to what I was really going to write about today, how China is partially responsible for the opioid crisis we are facing in America.

Several months ago, I listened to a Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) Program by NSI titled: The Opioid Crisis: China, National Security, and the Undeclared Conflict. It’s about 30 minutes and discusses non-kinetic warfare and the whole of nation response but the key points are:

  1. China is engaged in warfare with us by applying Sun Tzu’s principles
    1. All warfare’s is based on deception
    2. The victorious warrior wins first then goes to war, while the defeated warrior goes to war first then seeks to win
    3. 4 of the 9 elements of the 100-year war
      1. Induce complacency to avoid alerting your opponent
      2. Be patient for decades or longer to achieve victory
      3. Steal your opponent’s ideas and technology for strategic purposes
      4. Military might is not the critical factor for winning a long term competition.
  2. We are engaged in non-kinetic war China that costs the US more than the DoDs budget!
  3. War disguised as peace – Left of Bang
  4. Military’s Role – Border Enforcement / Drug interdiction
  5. Is this a worthy mission for the Military – Yes
  6. Non-kinetic warfare can be more destabilizing than a direct conflict
  7. What is a proportional response?
  8. Weapons of mass disruption – read that again, not a typo
  9. The larger border mission and involvement of the Military
  10. What is the impact of not using the Military to help secure the border?

The enemy often drives our actions, there are three warfare’s that China is employing:

  1. Psychological Operations
  2. Lawfare
  3. The use of Media

How do you address this type of clandestine conflict?

  1. Recognition – non-kinetic engagement are effective
  2. Close the void between kinetic and non-kinetic warfare
  3. Understand not a stand-alone operation

Other points: for the first time in US History the life expectancy dropped due to the opioid crisis and the amount of Fentanyl in the country is enough to kill every U.S. Citizen. Is this chemical warfare? The presentation goes far beyond this and discusses non-kinetic engagements and you really should check it out.


Where are the limits to how China is fighting a hybrid war with us? Are they limited to the above examples? This is not limited to China, who else do we need to be aware of? And ultimately, what do we do about it?

These are all complex questions that are only limited by our and our adversary’s imagination. I believe that current warfighter needs to better understand the new battlefield that extends beyond tactics. These examples are everywhere. I just want to present them in a consumable form and do my part after my ruck has hit the ground and I have picked up a keyboard.

10 thoughts on “Re-post: Non-Kinetic Warfare and China

  1. Reply
    To Serve China: Huawei and Potential Threat to the 5G Network, Part 1 of 5 | The Cognitive Warrior Project
    April 30, 2020 at 11:52 AM

    […] The following is the first part of a five part series about Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant. I wrote this paper while I was working on my Master’s Degree at Penn State and believe that is relevant today given the simmering tensions with China. In my opinion, this paper is a tangible example of the Non-Kinetic War that China is waging against us that we previously discussed here. […]

  2. Reply
    To Serve China: Huawei and Potential Threat to the 5G Network, Part 2 of 5 | The Cognitive Warrior Project
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    […] example of the Non-Kinetic War that China is waging against us that we previously discussed here. Part 1 can be found here. Today we will discuss a brief history of Huawei, their founder and […]

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    To Serve China: Huawei and Potential Threat to the 5G Network, Part 3 of 5 | The Cognitive Warrior Project
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    […] example of the Non-Kinetic War that China is waging against us that we previously discussed here. Click the links for Part 1 ,  Part 2 and Part 3 Today we will discuss Chinese Law, […]

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    Wally Deline
    May 30, 2020 at 2:08 PM

    Hi guys! the fellows at is giving away a free tactical flashlight

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  9. Reply
    September 24, 2020 at 3:41 AM

    I’m very happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

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