UNRESTRICTED WARFARE ON CAMPUS: CHINESE INFORMATION OPERATIONS AND AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION

Lauren Cooper, Carnegie Mellon University

American colleges and universities serve as reliable sources of both cutting edge research and earnest idealism, and this combination has not gone unnoticed by intelligence and security services from around the world. China, in particular, has been targeting American higher education institutions through a strategy which echoes the three‐phased process of Mao’s revolution in China. Far from being an ad‐hoc effort, this strategic endeavor uses information operations against non‐traditional targets for intelligence collection and theft of intellectual property, and as a base of operations for cyber and influence campaigns, in order to enhance China’s economic innovation base and increase its geopolitical reach. Left unchecked, China’s ongoing efforts could jeopardize innovation and academic freedom on campus, and pose a serious risk to national security, and by extension, to society at large.