Air Force general predicts U.S. will be at war with China in 2025
A Defense Department official said the general's "comments are not representative of the department's view on China.
A four-star Air Force general told officers that he predicts the United States will be at war with China in 2025.
"I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me [we'll] fight in 2025," Gen. Mike Minihan, Air Mobility Command leader, wrote Friday in a memo obtained by NBC News.
Both Taiwan and the U.S. have presidential elections in 2024. Minihan predicted in the memo that America will be "distracted" and Chinese President Xi Jinping will seize the opportunity to invade Taiwan.
The Air Mobility Command says it has approximately 110,000 personnel who focus on "Airlift, Air Refueling, Air Mobility Support and Aeromedical Evacuation."
In the memo to all Air Mobility Command air wing commanders and other Air Force operational commanders, Minihan directed all AMC personnel next month to "fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most. Aim for the head."
He also ordered all personnel to update their emergency contact information and records.
A Defense Department official said the general's "comments are not representative of the department's view on China."
Other U.S. military officials have predicted that China may invade Taiwan even sooner. In October, Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday predicted Beijing could launch an invasion of Taiwan in 2023.
Chinese aircraft have become increasingly present near Taiwan. President Joe Biden said last year that the United States would intervene with force if China invades the democratically-governed island. However, a Center for Strategic & International Studies report last week found it would be "extremely difficult for the United States to sustain a protracted conflict" in the region.