Submarine Cables in the Western Pacific - Part 2
- Project Review
- Risk Assessments
- Terrorist/Proxy attack on Piti and Tanguisson Point, Guam
- Cyber attack/surveillance of cable traffic routed through Hong Kong
- Discussion and Analysis
Overall, there are significant layers of redundancy in the undersea cable network and planned expansions that bypass the most significant Chinese and Russian threats within the 1st Island Chain
With this redundancy comes access. China has a state-owned interest in nearly every cable system and potential access to data at landing points that are non-US controlled. It's likely they already have or could gain a data advantage over the US using just undersea cable access points.
The South China Sea presents a significant issue for international data traffic and the impact of an attack would be most impactful for Pacific Island nations, but not necessarily US Operations.
Risk analysis indicates that individual attacks on specific landing points or cables would present few issues, but a few coordinated attacks on multiple cable systems in specific locations (i.e. Hawaii and Guam) may limit mission command of US Forces operating in the Pacific. Both China and Russia have the capability to do this.
Taiwan is at great risk of being disrupted with only a few landing stations, easily accessible cables, and a determined enemy with the capability to conduct disruptive attacks.
Cyber attacks would be difficult to employ and achieve little effect. Multiple redundancies and security features obstruct access to full networks and an attack would need to be extraordinarily high spread to achieve a noticeable effect.
A terrorist attack would have to attack multiple simultaneous targets to have an effect that isn't covered in redundancy. Their limited presence in Mindanao and small groupings outside of the US makes this very unlikely.