General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had some interesting words for graduating cadets at West Point on Saturday.
During his remarks Milley warned them to get ready for “significant international conflict” with Russia and China, according to reporting by the Daily Mail, which is about as clear a signal as you can get that the nation’s top brass may be hankering for another war to lift their political and domestic fortunes.
Best of all, Milley made continued reference to the science-fiction nature of future war-fighting, invoking the image of “robotic” weaponry and vehicles.
“You’ll be fighting with robotic tanks and ships and airplanes,” Milley explained in his address. “We’ve witnessed a revolution in lethality and precision munitions. What was once the exclusive province of the United States military is now available to most nation-states with the money and will to acquire them.”
Milley continued his prophesying by conjuring an image of a global conflict with “great powers,” presumably Russia and China.
“The world you are being commissioned into has the potential for a significant international conflict between great powers,” he said. “And that potential is increasing, not decreasing.”
“Whatever overmatch we, the United States, enjoyed militarily for the last 70 years is closing quickly, and the United States will be, in fact…challenged in every domain of warfare—space, cyber, maritime, air, and of course land.” Milley made no mention of the blatant theft of US military secrets by China, which the government charged with protecting American interests seems unable or unwilling to stop.
Milley went on to explain that the U.S. cannot merely sit by any longer as Russia and China look abroad to sate their thirst for global conquest and the desire to elbow their way onto the world stage. The use of new technologies deployed in the recent Ukraine war, both by the Russian invaders and the Ukrainian defenders, are indications that future wars will evince greater complexity than ever before, with sophisticated multi-level warfare techniques (including information warfare), unseen enemies, and the need for new military strategies and weaponry.
“Right now, at this very moment, a fundamental change is happening in the very character of war,” Milley, on whose watch the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan occurred, explained in his remarks.
“We are facing right now two global powers, China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, and both who fully intend to change the current rules-based order.”
He also made mention of recent events in Ukraine.
“Let us never forget the massacre that we have just witnessed in Bucha nor the slaughter that occurred in Mariupol,” he said. “The best way to honor their sacrifice is to support their fight for freedom and to stand against tyranny.”
Unmentioned in his remarks was the slaughter of 13 US service members last year during the botched evacuation of Kabul.
The general then quickly switched to a favorite topic with generals—expensive military technology. It was necessary, Milley explained, for the U.S. to keep pace with the evolving nature of war and the rapidly advancing military technology being pursued by countries all across the planet. Defense contractors were undoubtedly salivating at his remarks.
“You’ll be fighting with robotic tanks and ships and airplanes,” Milley observed, before explaining that the deployment of artificial intelligence is powering “the most profound change ever in human history.”
“It will be your generation that will carry the burden and shoulder the responsibility to maintain the peace, to contain and to prevent the outbreak of great power war,” the general concluded.
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