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The Business of Counterterrorism

Public-Private Partnerships in Homeland Security


Nathan E. Busch and Austen D. Givens

The Business of Counterterrorism focuses on the opportunities and challenges that public-private partnerships (PPPs) face in the post-9/11 world. Although these partnerships are a major topic of discussion and study among businesses and government agencies involved in homeland security efforts, they have received a much less thorough analysis by scholars. The Business of Counterterrorism identifies the essential role that PPPs are now taking in homeland security and explores the implications of this transformative shift in the field. In its discussion, it focuses on five areas in homeland security – critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, information sharing, security at U.S. ports of entry, and disaster recovery.
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3: Public-Private Partnerships in Cyberterrorism, Cybercrime, and Cyberespionage


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Chapter 3

Public-Private Partnerships in Cyberterrorism, Cybercrime, and Cyberespionage

In late May 2013 The Washington Post reported that Chinese hackers had stolen several advanced U.S. weapons systems designs from private defense firms and U.S. government agencies.1 These stolen designs included plans for the U.S. missile defense system in Asia, which was built to shoot down nuclear missiles aimed at the United States and its allies, as well the U.S. Navy’s widely-used F/A-18 fighter jet.2 Senior U.S. government officials claimed that these thefts were part of a huge ongoing Chinese government cyberespionage campaign.3 A groundbreaking 2013 report by Mandiant, a cybersecurity consultancy, stated that “Our research and observations indicate that the Communist Party of China…is tasking the Chinese People’s Liberation Army…to commit systematic cyber espionage and data theft against organizations around the world.”4 The report noted that the Chinese government targets both public and private sector computer networks for what Mandiant labels “harmful ‘computer network operations’”—principally the theft of information.5

Though the Mandiant report included significant new details on the extent of Chinese cyberespionage, the thefts were not exactly surprising. In 2012 former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mike McConnell, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn characterized the Chinese cyber threat bluntly in a Wall ← 87 | 88 → Street Journal opinion column, noting that “[t]he Chinese are the world’s most active and persistent practitioners of cyber espionage today.”6...

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