China just tested its mach-10 Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle, but there’s more to the test than just looking for ways past our missile defenses:
US missile defenses can only counter ballistic missiles and warheads that have predictable trajectories. The Wu-14 is capable of maneuvering during flight while travelling at the edge of space, and so is extremely difficult to shoot down.
US intelligence officials have called the tests “extreme maneuvers,” but experts say the timing of the test launch was designed to coincide with a visit to Washington by Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Fan will visit the US for a week and the launch was timed to increase his “bargaining power [at] the negotiating table when he deals with his US counterpart,” Macau-based military observer Antony Wong told the South China Post.
Sometimes as I line up my browser tabs first thing in the AM, two stories just happen to wind up right next to each other with almost Drudge-worthy juxtaposition. Jim Geraghty ended up next to RT’s Wu-14 writeup, and here’s what he has to say this morning about presidential “candidate” Hillary Clinton:
It’s particularly fascinating that she would claim that “no other country is better prepared to meet emerging threats from cyber attacks” just days after we learn that hackers stole sensitive information in the personnel files of as many as 14 million current and former government workers. This is not debatable. We weren’t prepared. We’re probably not going to be prepared for a long time, or ever. But she needs the applause line, so the line stays in there.
I know a couple who spent the weekend leaving their bank of 20 years and moving all their money and their accounts elsewhere. The reason is that he’s a former federal employee and a current federal contractor, and he has plenty of reasons to think the Chinese are now in possession of his account information.
He also has a tall stack of various security clearances and a sensitive position.
He — and we — are fortunate that he’s lived a pretty clean life and likely has nothing to be blackmailed with back in his security clearance background checks, which are likely also in Chinese hands. Multiply that by 14 million, and it’s a sure thing that China has the goods on enough people in enough sensitive positions to pwn like no nation has ever been pwned before.
The Wu-14 test means that China is aggressively developing the means to penetrate our trickiest defenses. But the OPM hack means that they have the at-will ability to paralyze or corrupt key decision-makers.
Has any major nation ever held that kind of power over another major nation? Certainly not that I can recall.
So the only other question in my mind is where the hammer will strike, and how hard.