The Biden administration has taken aggressive steps to oppose Russia, including an announcement earlier this month that it will send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Yet in a recently leaked memo, one high-level military figure suggested that a much bigger threat lies in Asia, arguing that a war with China could break out in the next two years.
“My gut tells me we will fight in 2025”
According to a report from NBC News, the memo was sent out last Friday by Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan and it envisioned a Chinese invasion of Taiwan taking place by 2025.
“I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” said Minihan, who serves as head of Air Mobility Command (AMC).
Minihan pointed to the fact that both Taiwan and the United States are slated to carry out presidential elections next year. He believes that this has the potential to “distract” both countries, something which China may attempt to capitalize on.
The general laid out a series of goals, including the creation of a “fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain.”
General calls for more aggressive training
Minihan also advocated a more aggressive posture when it comes to training, stating exercises should run “deliberately, not recklessly,” while adding, “If you are comfortable in your approach to training, then you are not taking enough risk.”
He advised AMC to “fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most,” stressing, “Aim for the head.”
What’s more, the general advised AMC personnel to update their personnel records as well as emergency contact information.
NBC News noted that Friday’s memo came in the wake of comments Minihan made last March in which he said airmen should “consider their personal affairs and whether a visit should be scheduled with their servicing base legal office to ensure they are legally ready and prepared.”
The Defense secretary acknowledges that China has been “very provocative”
The network reported that an AMC spokesperson confirmed the document’s authenticity, saying that it is “an internal memo from General Minihan addressed to his subordinate command teams.”
“His order builds on last year’s foundational efforts by Air Mobility Command to ready the Mobility Air Forces for future conflict, should deterrence fail,” the spokesperson added.
However, NBC News also quoted a Department of Defense (DOD) as saying that Minihan’s “comments are not representative of the department’s view on China.”
For his part, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters during a press conference last month that China has recently engaged in “some very provocative behavior.”