A four-star Air Force commander has instructed his subordinates to prepare for conflict with China within the next two years, directing them to train service members “knowing that unrepentant lethality is the most important factor.”
Mike Minihan, chief of the 50,000-member Air Mobility Command, wrote in a disturbing memo on Friday, as reported by NBC News, “I hope I am wrong.” “My gut tells me that in 2025 we will fight.”
The Department of Defense attempted to minimize the significance of the letter. “These views do not reflect the department’s perspective on China,” a spokeswoman stated.
As tensions between China and Taiwan continue to escalate, Minihan, a 32-year Air Force veteran posted at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, explained his assumption in terms of geopolitical logic.
“[Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022,” the general wrote. “Taiwan’s presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a reason. United States’ presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a distracted America.
“Xi’s team, reason, and opportunity are all aligned for 2025,” Minihan concluded.
In February, he instructed all AMC personnel — the Air Force’s primary mobility, evacuation, and refueling branch — to concentrate on target practice: “Fire a clip into a 7-meter target… Target the head.”
Additionally, he instructed them to “examine their own affairs and… verify that they are legally prepared and ready.”
In recent weeks, the Chinese military has undertaken almost daily intrusions into Taiwan’s skies and waterways, as Beijing continues to assert its grip over the 1949-separated sovereign democracy.