"I hope I am wrong," an Air Force general told commanders under him as he warned in a new memo that he expects the US and China to be at war in two years. "My gut tells me we will fight in 2025." Gen. Mike Minihan, who has nearly 50,000 service members as head of the Air Mobility Command, which handles transport and refueling, told his commanders to prepare for battle, NBC News reports, partly by shooting at a target. "Aim for the head," he said. No other senior Defense official has said such a war is imminent, per the Washington Post. Minihan ordered his commanders to report back on their preparations by the end of February.
The four-star general points out that Chinese President Xi Jinping has won a third term in office and "set his war council." Part of Miniham's reasoning is that Taiwan and the US will be preoccupied with presidential elections in 2024, giving China an opportunity to move against Taiwan. The next stage of preparations for everyone in his command, Minihan said, is to get their personal affairs in order in March. And they should commence rigorous training, he wrote. A spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of his memo, dated Feb. 1, though a Defense Department official said, "These comments are not representative of the department's view on China." (Read more US-China relations stories.)