US, allied intel agencies warn pilots to avoid Chinese recruitment

by Vern Evans

U.S. and allied intelligence agencies are warning troops of the Chinese military’s continued efforts to hire former fighter pilots to glean more information on allied tactics and techniques in combat.

A joint threat bulletin issued Wednesday by Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States — the group of English-speaking countries who comprise the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing coalition — said companies with ties to the Chinese military will try to lure recruits with large salaries and promises to “fly exotic aircraft” without details about their clientele.

Potential recruits are often approached by personal acquaintances from their days in the military, the bulletin warned. Military pilots, flight engineers and air operations center personnel are the most highly sought-after targets.

“To overcome their shortcomings, China’s People’s Liberation Army has been aggressively recruiting Western military talent to train their aviators, using private firms around the globe that conceal their PLA ties and offer recruits exorbitant salaries,” U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director Michael Casey said in the bulletin.

“Recent actions by Western governments have impacted these operations, but PLA recruitment efforts continue to evolve in response,” he added.

The United States and NATO allies have also implemented commercial restrictions on a number of companies with ties to the Chinese military, including the Test Flying Academy of South Africa, Beijing China Aviation Technology, Stratos and others.

China’s efforts to learn more about American military tactics and strategy come amid Beijing’s growing aggression toward Taiwan, the democratically self-governed island that maintains military and trade ties with the United States but is claimed by China, and escalating tensions over China’s claim to large swaths of the South China Sea.

This is not the first time the United States has warned service members about the prospect of becoming foreign recruiting targets. In a Sept. 8 memo, then-Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown warned airmen of the legal and national security consequences of accepting a contract with a foreign company.

“By essentially training the trainer, many of those who accept contracts with these foreign companies are eroding our national security, putting the very safety of their fellow service members and the country at risk, and may be violating the law,” Brown wrote.

In October 2022, former Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan was arrested in Australia on charges of allegedly training Chinese military pilots, which would violate U.S. arms-control laws.

Zamone “Z” Perez is a reporter at Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.

Read the full article here

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy