Bigger Than a Balloon: The Chinese C4ISRT Complex as Hyperobject

CIMSEC – Decades of Chinese investment in sensors, networks and data management means that Allied operations in the Western Pacific are now occurring within a dynamic, complex, shifting, and expanding Chinese C4ISRT ecosystem. The national security community should heed Morton’s hyperobjects and how they provide a better framework for understanding the reality-altering nature of the Chinese C4ISRT complex as a hyperobject. The exact extent and scale of the hyperobject is difficult to ascertain, thereby making it hard to say definitively whether one is being tracked by it at any given time, particularly during this uneasy period of great power competition. Through decades of hard work and investment, China created this hyperobject, and by doing so, it has changed the long-range surveillance and targeting game.