WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A new kind of arms race is underway between the United States and China, potentially involving 9th grade soldiers.
As American and Chinese officials are set to discuss what is in effect a disarmament deal in cyberspace, each country prepares to recruit more hackers to stand ready on the front lines.
The United States is comparatively late to the cyber war game, with the People's Liberation Army reportedly boasting for a hacking force 100,000 strong, 20 years in the making. By contrast, the U.S. Cyber Command started in 2010, and aims to employ 6,200 coders by 2016.
Many U.S. military officials are worried that the process is actually too fast, with concerns over vetting the right employees being a top concern.
"As we have continued to grow the cyber mission force, we're getting the right numbers of people," said Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, in a statement, "whether we are getting the right people is still yet to be determined."
Cyber troop recruits are a lot younger than their conventional military counterparts.
"We bring them out of high school, " said Lt. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, deputy commander of CYBERCOM, "the military services are training them to be world-class, advanced cyber operators."
While each country continues to bolster their forces behind a keyboard, political leaders from each country will soon engage in talks about limiting global cyber war.
According to officials familiar with the talks, each country will commit to not being the first country to use cyber assets to attack another's infrastructure and economy during peacetime.
China President Xi Jingping is scheduled to visit the United States and meet with President Obama on September 24.