Milley: Fighting Both China and Russia Together Would Be a 'Very, Very Difficult Thing'

( – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Wednesday if the United States of America is “adequately resourced and prepared” to deter and defeat a China-Russia alliance.

Milley responded that the National Defense Strategy currently is structured to deal with a “pacing threat from China and an acute threat from Russia.”

“What that really means, and this changed under the former SecDef Mattis, we changed essentially from a two-war strategy to a regional contingency strategy, which (was) in existence from, I guess, the end of World War II all the way up through a few years ago.”

But then, Milley said, “We switched to a one-war strategy. So we planned it to resource, train, man, equip and force-structure our force to be able to fight one major contingency against one power and to hold in the other theaters.”

Milley said the shift to the one-war strategy took place in the 2017 NDS. “And I was chief of staff of the Army, we all participated in it,” he said.


“Now, we can surge,” Milley continued. “We would have to do that. But that’s the reality.

“Our military, capability-wise, can fight in a lot of places with different types of contingencies, but if you’re talking about a serious conflict, with a major great power war, realistically, putting both China and Russia together is a very, very difficult thing.”

Milley later noted that Russia and China are getting “closer together.”

“I wouldn’t call it a true, full alliance, in the meaning of that word,” he said.

“But we are seeing them moving closer together, and that’s troublesome. And then if you add in — Iran’s the third. So those three countries together are going to be problematic for many years to come, I think, especially Russia and China because of their capabilities.”

Milley said China has a “significant nuclear capability today,” and they also have ICBMs that can reach the United States.

“We are facing two, nuclear-armed great powers,” he said, and while the principles of Cold War deterrence still apply, now it’s “more complicated” because it’s “two versus one.”

Milley said it’s essential to maintain strategic stability, “and we do that with China with an assured second strike. That’s the best way that exists today, with the technologies that exist,” he said:

“We are probably not going to be able to do anything to stop, slow down, disrupt, interdict or destroy the Chinese nuclear development program that they have projected out over the next ten to twenty years. But they’re going to do that, in accordance with their own plan, and there’s very little leverage, I think, that we can do externally to prevent that from happening.

“There might be some economic levels of power, there might be other things in the intelligence world, but for the most part, they’re probably going to step out. They have a national goal…to be the global coequal with the United States and superior militarily by mid-century.

“They’re on that path to do that. And that’s really disturbing, that’s really bothersome, and we’re going to have to not only keep pace, but we have to outpace that, and that’ll assure the peace.”


Some media, including videos, may only be available to view at the original.  

Similar Posts