A recent Chinese military reorganization is increasing the danger posed by People’s Liberation Army cyber warfare and intelligence units that recently were consolidated into a new Strategic Support Force.
The announcement of the military reorganization made on Dec. 31 by the Chinese government provided few details of what has changed for three military intelligence units formerly under the now-defunct General Staff Department.
However, U.S. officials and China analysts say the major cyber warfare and intelligence-gathering groups were elevated into the new Strategic Support Force, a military service-level force equal in standing to China’s army, navy, air force and missile services.
They include the 3rd Department, or 3PLA, that is believed to have as many as 100,000 cyber warfare hackers and signals intelligence troops under its control. The group includes highly-trained personnel who specialize in network attacks, information technology, code-breaking, and foreign languages.