Head of US Air Mobility Command (AMC), General Mike Minihan, has defended writing an incendiary memo titled “War with China”, claiming he aimed to create a sense of urgency in the forces under his command.
The memo, which was dated February 1 but started circling on social media several days earlier, instructed AMC commanders to report all major efforts to prepare for “the China fight”.
Media reported on Thursday that Minihan, in the memo, predicted the war between the US and China to kick off in 2025.
“My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” he said. “I hope I am wrong.”
He forecast that the war would be sparked over a Chinese move on Taiwan. “[Chinese President Xi Jinping] secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022. 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,” the memo reads.
The memo also included orders to Air Mobility Command personnel, calling on their servicing base to stay prepared.
“All AMC personnel will 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,” Minihan wrote.
Asked at a conference last week whether he still had a gut feeling about the US going to fight in the Pacific within two years, Minihan backtracked on his words, saying, “My assessment is that war is not inevitable, but the readiness I’m driving with that timeline is absolutely essential to deterrence and absolutely essential to the decisive victory.”
“There needs to be tension on readiness, more than just ‘be ready tonight.’ You need to have readiness that drives urgency. The urgency and the action are paramount,” Minihan told Defense One last week on the sidelines of the Air & Space Forces Association’s annual Air, Space & Cyber conference.
The memo instructed AMC airmen to “fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most. Aim for the head.”
Since that memo, Minihan said, he has sent “seven or eight more” to his commanders.
“All of the actions I described in that memo, those are actually the actions that got us Mobility Guardian and the success and will be the actions that get us through the next year on securing the irreversible momentum too,” he said.