Top U.S. Military Officer Warns: We Must ‘Fundamentally’ Change Our Military Or China Will Beat Us | Eastern North Carolina Now | Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned during this week during an event at the Aspen Security Forum that the U.S. military must rapidly change itself or face the prospect of losing a war against China or another nation state adversary.

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    Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned during this week during an event at the Aspen Security Forum that the U.S. military must rapidly change itself or face the prospect of losing a war against China or another nation state adversary.

    Milley marveled over the speed in which China has transformed itself both economically and militarily, saying that "their aspiration is to challenge the United States globally."

    "They want to challenge the so called liberal rules-based order that went into effect in 1945 at the end of World War II, they want to revise it," Milley said. "So we have a case here of a country that is becoming extraordinarily powerful, that wants to revise the international order to their advantage. That's going to be a real challenge over the coming years. In next 10-20 years, that's going to be really significant for the United States."

    Milley then addressed the recent hypersonic missile tests that China conducted, noting that they were significant within a larger context of how fast China is catching up to the U.S. in a variety of military domains.

    "I would argue that the nature of that particular test, taken as part of a whole, if you look at, again, 40 years ago, they had 0 satellites, look at what they've got today," Milley said. "They had no ICBMs, look at what they've got today. They had no nuclear weapons, look what they got today. They have no fourth or fifth generation fighters or even more advanced fighters back then, look what they got today. They had no navy, look what they have today. They had no sub force, look what they have today. So if you look at the totality, this test that occurred a couple weeks ago, is only one of a much, much broader picture of a military capability with respect to the Chinese, that is very, very significant."

    "We're witnessing, in my view, we're witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geostrategic power that the world is witnessed," Milley continued. "And it only happens once in a while. And it's not standalone. It's happening within what I would call a operating environment, a change in the character of war. So that happens once in a while. In terms of a fundamental change in the character of war, what we're seeing today is a fundamental change. And that only happens every, the last big one was between World War I and World War II with the introduction of the airplane and mechanization and the radio. Today, you're seeing robotics, artificial intelligence, precision munitions, and a wide variety of other technologies that in combination, are leading to a fundamental change in the character war. And if we the United States military, don't do a fundamental change to ourselves in the coming 10-15-20 years, then we're going to be on the wrong side of a conflict."

    WATCH:

   


    TRANSCRIPT:

    LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS HOST: Alright, let's turn to China right now. There's long concerns about China's military buildup and that was certainly emphasized with this hypersonic test, believed to be a weapon that orbited the earth before carrying out a typical missile profile. You had made some comments about that, but I think a lot of us were alarmed by your alarm over it. What can you tell us?

    MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Yeah, so China's an interesting case for me, the military, the Pentagon. We look at the world through nation state threats, non nation state threats, and a variety of other challenges to the United States. You see a big conference happening overseas with climate and so on. So, there's a lot of challenges in the national security world to the United States. But for me, the number one challenge, which Secretary Austin and secretaries before him have called 'the pacing threat,' is China. So what have we seen? We've seen a country, in what, four decades since the reforms and Deng Xiaoping, and in a very short amount of time, relatively speaking, go from the number seven economy in the world to the number two economy in the world, they've had, roughly speaking, a 10% rise over run economically for almost four decades, it's slowed down a little bit to 5 or 6%. And they've done what countries in the past have always done when they get that rich is they've invested in a very significant military. So, 40 years ago, it was a very large infantry, peasant based, Army, mostly army. Today, it has capabilities in space, in cyber, land, sea, air, undersea, and they are clearly challenging us regionally and their aspiration is to challenge the United States globally. They've been very clear about that, and open, you know, articles and speeches and so on. They have a China dream. And they want to challenge the so called liberal rules based order that went into effect in 1945 at the end of World War II, they want to revise it. So we have a case here of a country that is becoming extraordinarily powerful, that wants to revise the international order to their advantage. That's going to be a real challenge over the coming years. In next 10-20 years, that's going to be really significant for the United States.

    HOLT: You've been watching that growth, but at the same time, the impression we're getting is that that weapon test, that hypersonic test, was a surprise. I think you used a term that it could be a Sputnik moment.

    MILLEY: I did.

    HOLT: It might be a Sputnik, a Sputnik, remind us all, was a moment because we didn't have that capability. Do we have the capability to match what we just saw from China?

    MILLEY: Well, I won't go into anything classified as to what our specific capabilities are, or what theirs are for that matter. But I will just say that that test that occurred was a very significant test. Is hypersonics, new? No, they're not new. They've been around for a while. So in that limited, narrow sense, it's not a Sputnik moment, because Sputnik was new at the time. But I would argue that the nature of that particular test, taken as part of a whole, if you look at, again, 40 years ago, they had 0 satellites, look at what they've got today. They had no ICBMs, look at what they've got today. They had no nuclear weapons, look what they got today. They have no fourth or fifth generation fighters or even more advanced fighters back then, look what they got today. They had no navy, look what they have today. They had no sub force, look what they have today. So if you look at the totality, this test that occurred a couple weeks ago, is only one of a much, much broader picture of a military capability with respect to the Chinese, that is very, very significant. We're witnessing, in my view, we're witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geostrategic power that the world is witnessed. And it only happens once in a while. And it's not standalone. It's happening within what I would call a operating environment, a change in the character of war. So that happens once in a while. In terms of a fundamental change in the character of war, what we're seeing today is a fundamental change. And that only happens every, the last big one was between World War I and World War II with the introduction of the airplane and mechanization and the radio. Today, you're seeing robotics, artificial intelligence, precision munitions, and a wide variety of other technologies that in combination, are leading to a fundamental change in the character war. And if we the United States military, don't do a fundamental change to ourselves in the coming 10-15-20 years, then we're going to be on the wrong side of a conflict [inaudible].

    HOLT: If this weapon has the capabilities that have been widely reported, the ability to orbit and then strike, is it destabilizing?

    MILLEY:I think that there's a potential for that, sure, that there could be some strategic instability introduced into that, which is another whole factor. As we go forward in the operational environment, you look back at the Cold War, you mentioned, Colin Powell, and Brett Scowcroft, and others. Those guys all grew up in the Cold War. where it was a bipolar world. Between the Soviet Union and United States. We are entering into a tripolar world with the United States, Russia, and China being all great powers. Just by introducing three versus two, you already get increased complexity. Now, if you add into that, all the other technologies that are coming at us very, very quickly, you're going, we're entering into a world in my view, we're entering into a world that is potentially much more strategically unstable than, say, the last 40-50-60-70 years. So what does that mean? That means that we're going to have to put a premium, in my view, on maintaining great power of peace. The world order, the so-called liberal world order that was put in place in 1945, that was not designed to prevent Korea or Vietnam or Gulf War one, or terrorism for that matter. It was designed to prevent World War III, it was designed to prevent great power war. And it's been successful, for we're in the 76th year. The two times before, historically, you look at the Treaty of Westphalia that lasted about 100 years, you look at the Concert of Europe that lasted about 100 years. So we're in the 76th year of this great power of peace. And we are entering in to a period in my personal opinion, of increased potential instability and risk. And we, Russia, China, and everybody else, all the allies and partners, are going to have to be very, very careful and conscious about how we deal with each other going forward.


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