A four-star Air Force general predicted that the United States and China will be at war in two years and instructed his subordinates to prepare by shooting “a clip” at a target and “aiming for the head.”
Gen. Mike Minihan, commander of Air Mobility Command, wrote in a document issued on Friday that NBC News was able to receive, “I pray I am incorrect. My instinct is I’ll fight in 2025.
With approximately 50,000 military men and close to 500 aircraft, Air Mobility Command is in charge of transportation and refueling.
In the letter, Minihan predicted that because both Taiwan and the United States would hold presidential elections in 2024, Xi Jinping, the president of China, will have a chance to intervene on Taiwan while the United States will be “distracted.”
Building “a fortified, ready, integrated, and nimble Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain” is one of his preparation goals, which he spells out in detail.
All Air Mobility Command air wing commanders as well as other operational commanders of the Air Force are instructed in the signed letter to report to Minihan by February 28 any significant preparations made for the China campaign.
He orders all AMC employees to “fire a clip into a 7-meter target with full knowledge that unrepentant lethality counts most” throughout the month of February. Take aim at the head. Additionally, he advises everyone to update their emergency contacts and paperwork.
All AMC employees are to “examine their personal affairs and if a visit should be planned with their servicing base legal office to ensure they are legally ready and prepared,” according to his March directive.
They are urged by Minihan to take some risks while training. However, he then adds, “If you are comfortable in your attitude to training, then you are not taking enough risk.” He advises to “run carefully, not recklessly.”
Additionally, he offers a glimpse into one tool that the United States is studying for a potential battle with China: commercial drone swarms. In order to “deliver 100 off-the-shelf size and type UAVs from a single aircraft,” he instructs the KC-135 units.
After publication of this article, a defense department official said, “These comments are not representative of the department’s view on China.”
This is a legitimate internal document from General Minihan delivered to his subordinate command teams, an AMC official said in a statement on Friday. In order to prepare the Mobility Air Forces for potential confrontation should deterrence fail, Air Mobility Command began laying the groundwork for this directive last year.
Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the press secretary for the Defense Department, said in a statement that “China is the Department of Defense’s leading issue, and our priority remains on working with friends and partners to maintain a peaceful, free, and open Indo-Pacific.”
In March 2021, Adm. Philip Davidson, then commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that “Taiwan is clearly one of [China’s] ambitions.
“I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact, in the next six years,” said Davidson.
When asked earlier this month whether a Chinese invasion of Taiwan was imminent, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, said, “What we’re seeing recently, is some very provocative behavior on the part of China’s forces and their attempt to re-establish a new normal.”
“But whether or not that means that an invasion is imminent,” said Austin, “I seriously doubt that.”