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“The U.S. government remains committed to the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission,” she said in a statement, adding that the Pentagon POW office “supports the Commission and Russia has granted access to some of its archival records. Both sides have active Commissioners.”

China military report upgraded

The Senate version of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill contains language that would require the Pentagon to highlight China’s growing cyberwarfare and strategic nuclear capabilities.

A section of the legislation calls for adding language to the annual report on Chinese military power on “China’s asymmetric capabilities, including efforts to develop and deploy cyberwarfare and electronic warfare capabilities, and associated activities originating or suspected of originating from China.”

If contained in the final law, the Pentagon will be required to describe in detail China’s cyberwarfare and cyberespionage activities and “an assessment of the damage inflicted on the Department of Defense by reason thereof, and the potential harms.”

Also, China’s strategy and potential targets for offensive cyberwarfare would be added, along with details of “the number of malicious cyber incidents emanating from Internet Protocol addresses in China, including a comparison of the number of incidents during the reporting period to previous years.”

Lastly, the Pentagon would have to include details on specific cyberwarfare efforts by China’s People’s Liberation Army, state security and other entities.

On China’s space activities, new additions to the annual report would identify the strategy and capabilities of Chinese space programs.

China’s nuclear forces also would be highlighted under the bill, including the size and state of China’s nuclear stockpile, its nuclear strategy, and data on its missile and warhead developments.

Also, for the first time, the Pentagon would include details on Chinese efforts to develop electromagnetic pulse weapons – the disabling electronic effect of a nuclear blast that China is thought to be developing as a dedicated weapon.

The Senate bill is seeking “a discussion of any significant uncertainties or knowledge gaps surrounding China’s nuclear-weapons program and the potential implications of any such knowledge gaps for the security of the United States and its allies.”

That provision was disclosed through a Georgetown University arms-control project studying China’s so-called Underground Great Wall that includes 3,000 miles of tunnels dedicated for nuclear weapons.

The legislation appears to be a response to the Obama administration decision to shorten the latest Pentagon annual report to avoid upsetting Beijing, which routinely protests the report for highlighting the threat posed by China's military.

The annual report was cut from 96 pages in 2011 to 56 pages last year, prompting protests from some lawmakers.