A decorated Air Force general on Friday has predicted that the US will be at war with China by 2025, prompting him to advise his officers to prepare for conflict.
NBC News reported that four-star Gen. Miki Minihan, the head of the branch's Air Mobility Command, shared his prediction with all of the air wing commanders and other Air Force operational commanders, writing “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me [we] will fight in 2025.”
According to Minihan, war with China is likely to come as a result of the 2024 American and Taiwanese elections, which he believes will “distract” the two countries to allow China to make a move on the island which they they lay claim to as their territory.
The preparation needed, according to the four-star general, includes a “fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain.”
Minihan emphasized the need for stronger training, saying “If you are comfortable in your approach to training, then you are not taking enough risk.” According to the memo, he included recommendations to “aim for the head” in firearms training.
He then directed his Air Force commanders to get back to him with preparations they will make to fight by Feb. 28.
In a statement to Fox News, the Department of Defense (DOD) said that the general's memo was “not representative of the department’s view on China.”
DOD press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said the US military's “National Defense Strategy makes clear that China is the pacing challenge for the Department of Defense and our focus remains on working alongside allies and partners to preserve a peaceful, free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Republican Wisconsin US Rep. Mike Gallagher took Minihan's leaked memo seriously, echoing his call for preparations.
“If we've learned anything from Ukraine, it's that we need to take our adversaries at their word when they threaten their neighbors and put hard power in their way before it's too late,” he said.
“General Minihan should be commended for directing his Airmen to take the threat seriously and preparing with the urgency that the situation demands,” Gallagher added.