In a report outlining the updated priorities of US intelligence, China and Russia were placed alongside Iran and North Korea on a list of nations that challenge US interests at home and abroad, the French press agency AFP reports.
China was added, amongst other things, for “increasing natural resource-focused diplomacy and military modernization,” while Russia was singed out because, despite a growing partnership with the US on fighting things like nuclear terrorism, “it may continue to seek avenues for reasserting power and influence in ways that complicate US interests,” according to the AFP.
The National Intelligence Strategy (NIS), a report released every four years, calls China and Russia “aggressive” in the cyberworld and while the NIS did not explicitly name either countries as a cyber threat, it did outline cause for concern.
“At the tactical level, they are intent on penetrating our critical infrastructure, information systems, and leading industries,” it said, AFP reports. The report went on to recommend the US employ tactical strategies “across the cyber domain to protect critical infrastructure.”
The report also lists Iran and North Korea, unsurprisingly, as parts of its main opposition. It stressed the possibility of further partnerships with China and Russia to help strengthen relationships, however saw no hope of immediate reconciliation with either countries.
“Iran poses an array of challenges to US security objectives in the Middle East and beyond because of its nuclear and missile programs, support of terrorism, and provision of lethal aid to US and coalition adversaries…North Korea continues to threaten peace and security in East Asia because of its sustained pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, its transfer of these capabilities to third parties, its erratic behavior, and its large conventional military capability.”
Its assessment of Iran and North Korea was much harsher than of its two newcomers.
The report also highlighted Al-Qaeda as a continuing threat to both Americans and American interests at home and abroad and said the US’ main objective for the next four years will be to enhance “cyber security”, combat extreme terrorism and ensure weapons of mass destruction are not created or bought by any opposing nations.
The promotion and spread of democracy was not listed as a main priority.