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China targeting U.S. troops for exploitation campaign

 September 9, 2023

A senior U.S. military official has asserted that China is deliberately targeting both active and retired U.S. military personnel in an effort to "fill gaps" in its defense capabilities.

The revelation comes from an Air Force memo drafted by Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., which was shared on Friday, as Fox News reports.

China's Push for U.S. and NATO-Trained Talent

The memo sheds light on how international businesses with affiliations to the People's Republic of China (PRC) are being pressured to headhunt and employ individuals trained by the U.S. and NATO.

Gen. Brown emphasized the risks associated with these actions in the memo, noting that by joining these foreign enterprises, American veterans may inadvertently undermine the nation's security and potentially compromise the safety of their fellow service members and the country.

Brown encouraged these individuals to protect vital national defense details, even after their tenure with the military had ended.

Subtle Tactics, Serious Consequences

Investigations reveal that China's methods can be incredibly subtle, making them more dangerous. For instance, American veterans, particularly those with specialized knowledge, might be approached with seemingly harmless job propositions during defense-focused events.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigation highlighted roles such as aerospace ground equipment maintenance personnel and landing-signals officers as potential targets.

Such positions demand niche expertise involving the handling of specific equipment or guiding pilots to secure landings.

However, lurking behind these enticing job offers are firms that either operate under the Chinese government's purview or have direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

These companies hunt for experts who, in the process of their roles, may inadvertently relay their specialized knowledge straight to the Chinese military apparatus.

There is growing apprehension among U.S. officials that even when these service members realize the ulterior motives, they might not exit these roles due to various reasons.

Highlighting the deviousness of this scheme, one official warned that when a deal seems overly favorable, it should be viewed with suspicion, terming the exploitation approach as "insidious," as the Washington Post reported.

Beyond Recruitment: Espionage Efforts Ramp Up

This revelation about China targeting U.S. military experts is not isolated. Recent intelligence indicates an uptick in suspicious activities.

Reports from the FBI and the Department of Defense have identified over 100 instances in which Chinese citizens tried to gain unauthorized access to U.S. military and federal establishments under the guise of tourism.

From unauthorized entries into missile zones in New Mexico to scuba divers near a rocket launch facility in Florida, these "gate crashers" have raised eyebrows.

These incidents, experts believe, could be orchestrated by the Chinese government, coercing its citizens to gauge and report on security measures at these key sites.

China's activities are increasingly seen as a significant counterintelligence threat, targeting not just tangible assets but also the nation's intellectual property.