Thursday, June 1, 2023

China Mining US Think Tanks for Military Intelligence

Here is more from the New York Times:

China’s intelligence agencies are investing deeply in open-source intelligence to learn more about the capabilities of the American military in the Pacific and beyond, according to a new report.

The analysis, by the threat intelligence company Recorded Future, details efforts by China’s government and companies to collect publicly available data from the Pentagon, think tanks and private firms — information Beijing’s military can use to help plan for a potential conflict with the United States.

The report details some of the work one prominent Chinese open-source intelligence company has done to analyze publicly available insights from the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s in-house think tank. 


The Recorded Future report includes a table from a 2019 study by China's Army Service Academy showing likely People's Liberation Army (PLA) open-source intelligence (OSINT) collection targets.  The list includes the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Carnegie Europe Center, and Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). 

The report also notes that China is using its own "think tanks" to collect OSINT.  For example, it says that the Beijing Lanhai Changqing Information Science and Technology Co., Ltd. is a new self-described think tank that provides research support to military clients.  The entity claims to be "committed to becoming China's most influential military-civil fusion innovation think tank."

A similar entity is the Beijing Yuanwang Think Tank Science and Technology Consulting Co., Ltd., a privately owned PLA OSINT research services provider.

In related think tank news, China's new ambassador to the US, Xie Feng, has been having meetings with influential US think tanks.  He met, for example, with Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) President Richard Haass.  

Meanwhile, Chinese Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said that think tanks play a "unique role" in US-China understanding.