WEST POINT, NY – Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley, while addressing the graduating students of the West Point U.S. Military Academy, informed the class of 2022 that two of the United States’ main global adversaries – Russia and China – are currently threatening the established world order to a degree never seen before, and that the likelihood of war with one or both countries is higher than in recent memory.
Milley remarked to the cadets during a commencement ceremony on May 21 in West Point, New York that they would be serving in a military that may be called upon to police a rapidly-destabilizing world where the United States may one day no longer remain the dominant military power.
“Right now, at this very moment, a fundamental change is happening in the very character of war,” he said. “We are facing, right now, two global powers – Russia and China – each with significant military capabilities, and both fully intend to change the current rules-based order. The world you’re being commissioned into has the potential for significant international conflict between great powers, and that potential is increasing, not decreasing.”
Milley claimed that Russia’s war with Ukraine was due to boldness resulting from “aggression left unanswered,” and also noted the increasing prowess and power of China’s military as the country continues to build intercontinental ballistic missile silos, as well as increasing the number of battle ships in its navy.
In addition, the graduating students were informed by Milley of the shifts in the nature of modern warfare brought about by technological advances, telling them that they may find themselves in battle against “robotic tanks, ships, and airplanes,” as well as artificially-intelligent and internet-based adversaries as well, calling the phenomenon the “the most profound change ever in human history.”
The general also warned the grads that the days of the United States being the most dominant military power in the world are numbered, as the county’s rivals are showing signs of quickly closing the gap.
“We’ve witnessed a revolution in lethality and precision munitions. What was once the exclusive province of the U.S. military is now available to most nation states with the money and will to acquire them,” Milley said. “Whatever overmatch we, the United States, enjoyed militarily for the last 70 years is closing quickly. And the United States will be, in fact, we already are challenged in every domain of warfare in space and cyber, maritime, air, and, of course, land.”