Gen. Mike Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, said in a memo obtained by NBC News, “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025."
The news outlet reported further:
Air Mobility Command has nearly 50,000 service members and nearly 500 planes and is responsible for transport and refueling.
Minihan said in the memo that because both Taiwan and the U.S. will have presidential elections in 2024, the U.S. will be “distracted,” and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have an opportunity to move on Taiwan.
In the memo, the Air Mobility commander explained his objectives for preparing, which include building “a fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain.”
The signed memo was sent to all air wing commanders within the command and other operational commanders throughout the Air Force. It orders them to report to him all significant efforts to prepare for fighting China by Feb. 28.
During the next month, the memo directs all AMC personnel to "fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most," adding, "Aim for the head." In addition, he ordered all of his personnel to update medical and other records as well as emergency contacts.
In March, he ordered all personnel to “consider their personal affairs and whether a visit should be scheduled with their servicing base legal office to ensure they are legally ready and prepared.”
Furthermore, he advises AMC personnel to take on some risks in training.
“Run deliberately, not recklessly,” he writes, though later in the memo, he added: “If you are comfortable in your approach to training, then you are not taking enough risk.”
NBC News added: He also provides a window into one capability the U.S. is considering for possible conflict with China — commercial drone swarms. He directs the KC-135 units to prepare for “delivering 100 off-the-shelf size and type UAVs from a single aircraft.”
On Friday, a spokesperson for the command confirmed the authenticity of the memo.
“This is an authentic internal memo from General Minihan addressed to his subordinate command teams. His order builds on last year’s foundational efforts by Air Mobility Command to ready the Mobility Air Forces for future conflict, should deterrence fail," the spokesperson said, according to NBC News.
And Defense Department press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder added in a statement: “The 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.”
In March 2021, Adm. Philip Davidson, then commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that China has designs on Taiwan and plans to take over the island democracy by force if diplomacy fails.
“I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact, in the next six years,” said Davidson.
Meanwhile, former lawmaker, CIA director, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Minihan's statement in an interview with Breitbart News.
“The Chinese Communist Party has frankly…been at war, at the very least economic war, with the United States for 40 years, and we just turn the other cheek and let them run over us and build their economy on the backs of the American worker. And so I’m glad to see this,” Pompeo said of the memo.
He added: Yes, our military should get ready. I don’t know if 2024, 2025 is the moment, but we should be doing the hard work, getting our military space systems, our cyber systems, all of those lined up, and then working our tails off to continue to build on what I write about in [his book] Never Give an Inch; India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, our partners in the region the Philippines we should be working with them to deliver against the Chinese Communist Party a capacity to deter them from doing precisely what [Minihan] writes about."
On Sunday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said of Minihan's prediction during a Fox News interview: “I hope he’s wrong, as well. I think he’s right, though, unfortunately."
WATCH: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman @RepMcCaul joined @ShannonBream on #FoxNewsSunday to discuss China's looming threat, the U.S. sending tanks to Ukraine, our military readiness and more. pic.twitter.com/aDBuT4eKvc
— Fox News Sunday (@FoxNewsSunday) January 29, 2023