Chinese hackers gained access to some of the top weapon systems in the United States military, especially those that project American power in the Pacific, according to a Pentagon report prepared by a Defense Department advisory council, a topic that President Obama’s spokesman said would be discussed at his next meeting with Chinese leaders.
“I’ve seen the report,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said during the press gaggle Tuesday. “I would refer you to the Pentagon for specifics about the potential hacking of weapon systems. But I would note, as you’ve heard from the president, his national security adviser and others, as well as myself, cybersecurity is a key priority of this administration. It is a key concern that we have. It is an issue that we raise at every level in our meetings with our Chinese counterparts, and I’m sure will be a topic of discussion when the president meets with President Xi in California in early June. It was certainly a topic of conversation when National Security Adviser Donilon was having meetings in China, from which he is just returning now.”
The Washington Post obtained the confidential report prepared in January for the DOD by the Defense Science Board:
Some of the weapons form the backbone of the Pentagon’s regional missile defense for Asia, Europe and the Persian Gulf. The designs included those for the advanced Patriot missile system, known as PAC-3; an Army system for shooting down ballistic missiles, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD; and the Navy’s Aegis ballistic-missile defense system.
Also identified in the report are vital combat aircraft and ships, including the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship, which is designed to patrol waters close to shore.
Also on the list is the most expensive weapons system ever built — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is on track to cost about $1.4 trillion. The 2007 hack of that project was reported previously.
China has denied hacking U.S. systems in the past, but the Defense Department accused the Chinese military of doing so earlier this month. “[I]n 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the United States government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to [Chinese] government and military organizations,” David F. Helvey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, told reporters during a briefing on a new report on Chinese military capabilities.