JCOS Chair, Gen. Milley on China, Taiwan, Afghanistan (interview)

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MILLEY: CHINA IS CHALLENGING U.S. REGIONALLY WITH ASPIRATIONS TO CHALLENGE GLOBALLY: “WE’RE WITNESSING ONE OF THE LARGEST SHIFTS IN GLOBAL GEOSTRATEGIC POWER” 

“WE ABSOLUTELY HAVE THE CAPABILITY” TO DEFEND TAIWAN FROM CHINA

U.S. IS “THE NUMBER ONE COUNTRY ON EARTH THAT HAS CAPABILITIES IN SPACE”

Submitted to VT by NBC News

In an exclusive live interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded to questions on China’s rising global power including the prospect of the country attempting to seize back Taiwan and the recent hypersonic weapons test; the conditions in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal; North Korea; cybersecurity threats, and more.

See below for rush text highlights from the interview, which took place this morning during the Aspen Security Forum, available for use now under no embargo. Parts of the interview will also air tonight on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT. This is an early rush transcript not in its final form. 

RUSH TEXT HIGHLIGHTS: 

On whether the U.S. has the capability to defend Taiwan: “We absolutely have the capability … There’s no question about that.”

“We absolutely have the capability to do all kinds of things around the world to include that, if required. Those are the policy presidential decisions whether or not we do that and hence the policy of the Taiwan Relations Act, but we absolutely have the capability. There’s no question about that.”

On prospect of China attempting to seize Taiwan: Not in next six, 12 or 24 months. Adds, “Chinese are clearly and unambiguously building the capability to provide those options to the national leadership.”

“I would say that based on my analysis of China, I don’t think that it is likely in the near future to be defined as, you know, 6,12, maybe 24 months, that kind of window. Having said that though, the Chinese are clearly and unambiguously building the capability to provide those options to the national leadership if they so choose at some point in the future. But, in the near future, probably not, but anything can happen.”

On China’s hypersonic weapon test and global ambitions: China is “clearly challenging” us regionally, “aspiration to challenge U.S. globally.” Adds, “We’re witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geostrategic power.”

“Today [China] has capabilities in space and cyber, land, sea, air, undersea, and they are clearly challenging us regionally. And their aspiration is to challenge the United States globally… 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 the next 10, 20 years. That’s going to be really significant for the United States.”

“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 it’s 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 witnessing. It only happens once in a while and it’s not standalone. It’s happening within what I would call an operating environment, a change in the character of war.”

On whether China’s hypersonic weapon could be destabilizing

“I think that there’s a potential for that sure, that there could be some strategic instability introduced into that.”

Milley on conditions in Afghanistan: “Conditions are likely to be set for reconstituted ISIS or Al Qaeda” between six and 36 months

“My own personal estimate is that the conditions are likely to be set for reconstituted ISIS or Al Qaeda, and I gave out windows of time, six months and I gave it out that 36 months but somewhere in that window, you are likely to see a reconstituted Al Qaeda. Does that mean they’re going to attack the United States and ISIS? Does that mean they will attack the United States? Maybe, maybe, not. It depends. First, they have to reconstitute, second they have to develop that capability. Then they would have to plan, coordinate, synchronizing operation and then execute, that takes for terrorists, that takes considerable length of time. We’ll see.”

“With specifically in respect to Afghanistan –  do I envision in the future some reintroduction of military forces on the ground in Afghanistan, those would be presidential choices, policy choices, so I would never say always, never say never sort of thing. But I think it’s unlikely at this point.”

On space dominance: “We are the number one country on Earth that has capabilities in space.”

“I don’t want to go too much into dominance or not dominance in space. I would just say that space today is a new domain of war conflict. We don’t want to have a conflict in space. We’ve got good systems in space. And I would say that we are the number one country on Earth that has capabilities in space, but other countries are close behind.”

On North Korea: “I can deal with anything that North Korea has in mind … we always maintain a very, very high state of readiness.”

“I’m confident that with the combined forces of the United States and the Republic of Korea, I can deal with anything that North Korea has in mind, having said that, you know, it’s one of those areas where you’d never know. The peninsula is one of those areas that is highly militarized… so bad things could happen on the Korean peninsula, on relatively short notice. So we always maintain a very, very high state of readiness with respect to the Korean peninsula.”

On cybersecurity threats: “Our nation is literally being hacked, penetrated, in espionage, intelligence, operations going all in cyberspace … by criminals, non-state actors, terrorists, China and Russia.” 

“We are in a very, very contested domain in cyber and every single day, our nation is literally being hacked, penetrated, in espionage, intelligence, operations going all in cyberspace… So the short answer to your question is yes, on a daily basis, it happens millions of times a day. The Pentagon has, I don’t know how many attempts but it’s, it’s an astronomical amount of attempts to get through our systems. So every single day, cyberspace is highly contested. By criminals, by non-state actors and terrorists, but also by nation states, to include China and Russia. And we see it every single day.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Remember, folks, the AngloZionist Empire has always been about domination and exploitation of indigenous poeple. Both Russia and China have been on the receiving end of this for centuries. That they are now able to defend themselves against this threat with purely defensive weapons is the real challenge to the Empire. Unless we can find some way of becoming a “normal” nation that works for a living and pays its bills… No way will this ever happen. WWIII here we come!