2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

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Sertorio
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2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Post by Sertorio » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:56 am

https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/document ... Report.pdf
CHINA’S PUSH FOR GLOBAL POWER

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will continue its whole-of-government efforts to spread China’s influence, undercut that of the United States, drive wedges between Washington and its allies and partners, and foster new international norms that favor the authoritarian Chinese system. Chinese leaders probably will, however, seek tactical opportunities to reduce tensions with Washington when such opportunities suit their interests. China will maintain its major innovation and industrial policies because Chinese leaders see this strategy as necessary to reduce dependence on foreign technologies, enable military advances, and sustain economic growth and thus ensure the CCP’s survival.

 Beijing sees increasingly competitive US-China relations as part of an epochal geopolitical shift and views Washington’s economic measures against Beijing since 2018 as part of a broader US effort to contain China’s rise.

 China is touting its success containing the COVID-19 pandemic as evidence of the superiority of its system.

 Beijing is increasingly combining its growing military power with its economic, technological, and diplomatic clout to preserve the CCP, secure what it views as its territory and regional preeminence, and pursue international cooperation at Washington’s expense.

Regional and Global Activities

China seeks to use coordinated, whole-of-government tools to demonstrate its growing strength and compel regional neighbors to acquiesce to Beijing’s preferences, including its claims over disputed territory and assertions of sovereignty over Taiwan.

 China-India border tensions remain high, despite some force pullbacks this year. China’s occupation since May 2020 of contested border areas is the most serious escalation in decades and led to the first lethal border clash between the two countries since 1975. As of mid-February, after multiple rounds of talks, both sides were pulling back forces and equipment from some sites along the disputed border.

 In the South China Sea, Beijing will continue to intimidate rival claimants and will use growing numbers of air, naval, and maritime law enforcement platforms to signal to Southeast Asian countries that China has effective control over contested areas. China is similarly pressuring Japan over contested areas in the East China Sea.

 Beijing will press Taiwan authorities to move toward unification and will condemn what it views as increased US-Taiwan engagement. We expect that friction will grow as Beijing steps up attempts to portray Taipei as internationally isolated and dependent on the mainland for economic prosperity, and as China continues to increase military activity around the island.

 China’s increasing cooperation with Russia on areas of complementary interest includes defense and economic cooperation.

Beijing will continue to promote the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to expand China’s economic, political, and military presence abroad, while trying to reduce waste and exploitative practices, which have led to international criticism. China will try to increase its influence using “vaccine diplomacy,” giving countries favored access to the COVID-19 vaccines it is developing. China also will promote new international norms for technology and human rights, emphasizing state sovereignty and political stability over individual rights.

China will remain the top threat to US technological competitiveness as the CCP targets key technology sectors and proprietary commercial and military technology from US and allied companies and research institutions associated with defense, energy, finance, and other sectors. Beijing uses a variety of tools, from public investment to espionage and theft, to advance its technological capabilities.

Military Capabilities

China will continue pursuing its goals of becoming a great power, securing what it views as its territory, and establishing its preeminence in regional affairs by building a world-class military, potentially destabilizing international norms and relationships. China’s military commitment includes a multiyear agenda of comprehensive military reform initiatives.

 We expect the PLA to continue pursuing overseas military installations and access agreements to enhance its ability to project power and protect Chinese interests abroad.

 The PLA Navy and PLA Air Force are the largest in the region and continue to field advanced long-range platforms that improve China’s ability to project power. The PLA Rocket Force’s highly accurate short-, medium-, and intermediate-range conventional systems are capable of holding US and allied bases in the region at risk.

WMD

Beijing will continue the most rapid expansion and platform diversification of its nuclear arsenal in its history, intending to at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile during the next decade and to field a nuclear triad. Beijing is not interested in arms control agreements that restrict its modernization plans and will not agree to substantive negotiations that lock in US or Russian nuclear advantages.

 China is building a larger and increasingly capable nuclear missile force that is more survivable, more diverse, and on higher alert than in the past, including nuclear missile systems designed to manage regional escalation and ensure an intercontinental second-strike capability.

Space

Beijing is working to match or exceed US capabilities in space to gain the military, economic, and prestige benefits that Washington has accrued from space leadership.

 We expect a Chinese space station in low Earth orbit (LEO) to be operational between 2022 and 2024. China also has conducted and plans to conduct additional lunar exploration missions, and it intends to establish a robotic research station on the Moon and later an intermittently crewed lunar base.

 The PLA will continue to integrate space services—such as satellite reconnaissance and positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT)—and satellite communications into its weapons and command-and-control systems to erode the US military’s information advantage.

Counterspace operations will be integral to potential military campaigns by the PLA, and China has counterspace-weapons capabilities intended to target US and allied satellites.

 Beijing continues to train its military space elements and field new destructive and nondestructive ground- and space-based antisatellite (ASAT) weapons.

 China has already fielded ground-based ASAT missiles intended to destroy satellites in LEO and ground-based ASAT lasers probably intended to blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors on LEO satellites.

Cyber

We assess that China presents a prolific and effective cyber-espionage threat, possesses substantial cyber-attack capabilities, and presents a growing influence threat. China’s cyber pursuits and proliferation of related technologies increase the threats of cyber attacks against the US homeland, suppression of US web content that Beijing views as threatening to its internal ideological control, and the expansion of technology-driven authoritarianism around the world.

 We continue to assess that China can launch cyber attacks that, at a minimum, can cause localized, temporary disruptions to critical infrastructure within the United States.

 China leads the world in applying surveillance systems and censorship to monitor its population and repress dissent, particularly among ethnic minorities, such as the Uyghurs. Beijing conducts cyber intrusions that affect US and non-US citizens beyond its borders—such as hacking journalists, stealing personal information, or attacking tools that allow free speech online—as part of its efforts to surveil perceived threats to CCP power and tailor influence efforts. Beijing is also using its assistance to global efforts to combat COVID-19 to export its surveillance tools and technologies.

 China’s cyber-espionage operations have included compromising telecommunications firms, providers of managed services and broadly used software, and other targets potentially rich in follow-on opportunities for intelligence collection, attack, or influence operations.

Intelligence, Influence Operations, and Elections Influence and Interference

China will continue expanding its global intelligence footprint to better support its growing political, economic, and security interests around the world, increasingly challenging the United States’ alliances and partnerships. Across East Asia and the western Pacific, which Beijing views as its natural sphere of influence, China is attempting to exploit doubts about the US commitment to the region, undermine Taiwan’s democracy, and extend Beijing’s influence.

 Beijing has been intensifying efforts to shape the political environment in the United States to promote its policy preferences, mold public discourse, pressure political figures whom Beijing believes oppose its interests, and muffle criticism of China on such issues as religious freedom and the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong.
This, like the chapter on Russia, shows that the US main concern is maintaining its status of hegemonic power, and that it will do whatever is necessary to prevent China and Russia undermining that US super-power capability. It's a guideline for simple power struggle against whoever threatens American hegemonic power. If necessary, the US will resort to war to prevent the occurrence of the loss of its absolute power. It's a decadent empire fighting to keep its top position in the world.
Last edited by Sertorio on Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sertorio
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Re: 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Post by Sertorio » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:01 pm

RUSSIAN PROVOCATIVE ACTIONS

Moscow will continue to employ a variety of tactics this year meant to undermine US influence, develop new international norms and partnerships, divide Western countries and weaken Western alliances, and demonstrate Russia’s ability to shape global events as a major player in a new multipolar international order. Russia will continue to develop its military, nuclear, space, cyber, and intelligence capabilities, while actively engaging abroad and leveraging its energy resources, to advance its agenda and undermine the United States.

We expect Moscow to seek opportunities for pragmatic cooperation with Washington on its own terms, and we assess that Russia does not want a direct conflict with US forces.

 Russian officials have long believed that the United States is conducting its own “influence campaigns” to undermine Russia, weaken President Vladimir Putin, and install Western-friendly regimes in the states of the former Soviet Union and elsewhere.

 Russia seeks an accommodation with the United States on mutual noninterference in both countries’ domestic affairs and US recognition of Russia’s claimed sphere of influence over much of the former Soviet Union.

Regional and Global Activities

We assess that Moscow will employ an array of tools—especially influence campaigns, intelligence and counterterrorism cooperation, military aid and combined exercises, mercenary operations, assassinations, and arms sales—to advance its interests or undermine the interests of the United States and its allies. We expect Moscow to insert itself into crises when Russian interests are at stake, it can turn a power vacuum into an opportunity, or the anticipated costs of action are low. Russia probably will continue to expand its global military, intelligence, security, commercial, and energy footprint and build partnerships with US allies and adversaries alike—most notably Russia’s growing strategic cooperation with China—to achieve its objectives.

 We assess that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) organized the assassination of a Chechen separatist in a Berlin park in 2019 and tried to kill opposition activist Aleksey Navalnyy inside Russia in 2020 with a fourth-generation chemical agent.

 In the Middle East and North Africa, Moscow is using its involvement in Syria and Libya to increase its clout, undercut US leadership, present itself as an indispensable mediator, and gain military access rights and economic opportunities.

 In the Western Hemisphere, Russia has expanded its engagement with Venezuela, supported Cuba, and used arms sales and energy agreements to try to expand access to markets and natural resources in Latin America, in part to offset some of the effects of sanctions.

 In the former Soviet Union, Moscow is well positioned to increase its role in the Caucasus, intervene in Belarus if it deems necessary, and continue destabilization efforts against Ukraine while settlement talks remain stalled and low-level fighting continues.

 Since 2006, Russia has used energy as a foreign policy tool to coerce cooperation and force states to the negotiating table. After a price dispute between Moscow and Kyiv, for example, Russia cut off gas flows to Ukraine, including transit gas, in 2009, affecting some parts of Europe for a 13-day period. Russia also uses its capabilities in civilian nuclear reactor construction as a soft-power tool in its foreign policy.

Military Capabilities

We expect Moscow’s military posture and behavior—including military modernization, use of military force, and the integration of information warfare—to challenge the interests of the United States and its allies. Despite flat or even declining defense spending, Russia will emphasize new weapons that present increased threats to the United States and regional actors while continuing its foreign military engagements, conducting training exercises, and incorporating lessons from its involvement in Syria and Ukraine.

 Moscow has the wherewithal to deploy forces in strategically important regions but the farther it deploys from Russia, the less able it probably will be to sustain intensive combat operations.

 Private military and security companies managed by Russian oligarchs close to the Kremlin extend Moscow’s military reach at low cost, allowing Russia to disavow its involvement and distance itself from battlefield casualties. These proxy forces, however, often fail to achieve Moscow’s strategic goals because of their limited tactical proficiency.

WMD

We assess that Russia will remain the largest and most capable WMD rival to the United States for the foreseeable future as it expands and modernizes its nuclear weapons capabilities and increases the capabilities of its strategic and nonstrategic weapons. Russia also remains a nuclear-material security concern, despite improvements to physical security at Russian nuclear sites since the 1990s.

 Moscow views its nuclear capabilities as necessary to maintain deterrence and achieve its goals in a potential conflict against the United States and NATO, and it sees a credible nuclear weapons deterrent as the ultimate guarantor of the Russian Federation.

 Russia is building a large, diverse, and modern set of nonstrategic systems, which are capable of delivering nuclear or conventional warheads, because Moscow believes such systems offer options to deter adversaries, control the escalation of potential hostilities, and counter US and allied troops near its border.

Cyber

We assess that Russia will remain a top cyber threat as it refines and employs its espionage, influence, and attack capabilities.

 Russia continues to target critical infrastructure, including underwater cables and industrial control systems, in the United States and in allied and partner countries, as compromising such infrastructure improves—and in some cases can demonstrate—its ability to damage infrastructure during a crisis.

 A Russian software supply chain operation in 2020, described in the cyber section of this report, demonstrates Moscow’s capability and intent to target and potentially disrupt public and private organizations in the United States.

 Russia is also using cyber operations to defend against what it sees as threats to the stability of the Russian Government. In 2019, Russia attempted to hack journalists and organizations that were investigating Russian Government activity and in at least one instance leaked their information.

 Russia almost certainly considers cyber attacks an acceptable option to deter adversaries, control escalation, and prosecute conflicts.

Intelligence, Influence Operations, and Elections Influence and Interference

Russia presents one of the most serious intelligence threats to the United States, using its intelligence services and influence tools to try to divide Western alliances, preserve its influence in the post-Soviet area, and increase its sway around the world, while undermining US global standing, sowing discord inside the United States, and influencing US voters and decisionmaking. Russia will continue to advance its technical collection and surveillance capabilities and probably will share its technology and expertise with other countries, including US adversaries.

 Moscow almost certainly views US elections as an opportunity to try to undermine US global standing, sow discord inside the United States, influence US decisionmaking, and sway US voters. Moscow conducted influence operations against US elections in 2016, 2018, and 2020.

Space

Russia will remain a key space competitor, maintaining a large network of reconnaissance, communications, and navigation satellites. It will focus on integrating space services—such as communications; positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT); geolocation; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance—into its weapons and command-and-control systems.

 Russia continues to train its military space elements and field new antisatellite (ASAT) weapons to disrupt and degrade US and allied space capabilities, and it is developing, testing, and fielding an array of nondestructive and destructive counterspace weapons—including jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities, and ground-based ASAT capabilities—to target US and allied satellites.

neverfail
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Re: 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Post by neverfail » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:30 pm

Russia and China, working together, jointly have the capacity to overturn the existing world order: making the world a WORSE, not a better place, to live in.

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Sertorio
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Re: 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Post by Sertorio » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:37 pm

neverfail wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:30 pm
Russia and China, working together, jointly have the capacity to overturn the existing world order: making the world a WORSE, not a better place, to live in.
The existing world order is one in which a bully pushes around everybody else. I prefer to take my chances with Russia and China.

neverfail
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Re: 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Post by neverfail » Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:35 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:37 pm
neverfail wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:30 pm
Russia and China, working together, jointly have the capacity to overturn the existing world order: making the world a WORSE, not a better place, to live in.
The existing world order is one in which a bully pushes around everybody else. I prefer to take my chances with Russia and China.
I sometimes wonder why, since the disintegration of its former protector and patron in 1991, the US has not sent down an army to Cuba to remove the Castro regime from power. Not only would it rid the United States of an old thorn in its side but the move would go over well with the Miami Cubans.

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Sertorio
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Re: 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

Post by Sertorio » Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:19 am

neverfail wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:35 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:37 pm
neverfail wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:30 pm
Russia and China, working together, jointly have the capacity to overturn the existing world order: making the world a WORSE, not a better place, to live in.
The existing world order is one in which a bully pushes around everybody else. I prefer to take my chances with Russia and China.
I sometimes wonder why, since the disintegration of its former protector and patron in 1991, the US has not sent down an army to Cuba to remove the Castro regime from power. Not only would it rid the United States of an old thorn in its side but the move would go over well with the Miami Cubans.
You amaze me. You seem to find it natural for the US to intervene militarily in Cuba to remove a government and a system which seem to satisfy most Cubans. When what a civilized country would do would be accepting the Cuban reality, no matter how much it would displease it. But the civilized manner is not - and has never been - the American manner of doing things.

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