DOD's classified Cyber Strategy keeps focus on China

By Tony Bertuca / May 26, 2023 at 12:35 PM

The Defense Department has sent Congress a classified 2023 Cyber Strategy centering China as the top U.S. competitor in the cyber domain, along with Russia, which poses an "acute threat."

The Pentagon today released a fact sheet highlighting key concepts that will be rolled out in an unclassified summary of the report expected to be released in the coming months.

“The 2023 DOD Cyber Strategy is grounded in real-world experience,” the fact sheet states.

The new strategy will supersede one released in 2018.

“Since 2018, the department has conducted a number of significant cyberspace operations through its policy of defending forward, actively disrupting malicious cyber activity before it can affect the U.S. homeland,” DOD said.

The fact sheet notes that the strategy is “informed” by Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, “which has demonstrated how cyber capabilities may be used in large-scale conventional conflict."

Meanwhile, China remains DOD’s “pacing challenge in the cyber domain” as Beijing has “made significant investments in military cyber capabilities and empowered a number of proxy organizations to pursue malicious cyber activities against the United States,” according to the fact sheet.

While Russia is viewed as an “acute” threat “evidenced by its malign influence efforts against the United States and repeated cyberattacks against Ukrainian civilian critical infrastructure,” North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations all remain “persistent cyber threats.”

Transnational criminal organizations, meanwhile, are judged to be a “unique threat” in cyberspace because of their “technical aptitude and often close alignment with the foreign policy objectives of their host governments,” the fact sheet states.