I think it is important to understand where General Minihan is coming from. He comes from the same military background as I do, in fact, we were next-door neighbors when we were squadron commanders. Our peer groups saw the end of Soviet Communism as young officers and know it only happened for one reason. The United States rose to the challenge under Ronald Reagan after years of weakness and we rebuilt peace through strength, and it works. That effort is viewed as the impetus for defeating that communism.

Now here we are again after years, no decades of self-inflicted weakness. And I’m not talking about the defense budget this time but our weakened political will to identify the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as the preeminent threat to our way of life today and more importantly, to establish ourselves as a nation of strength that can deter the risen threat China has become to all freedom-loving nations. America’s strength is the only way to prevent global war and secure a peaceful future.

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General Minihan’s order, that’s what it is, a military commander’s order does two things. It communicates to the CCP that not all American leaders are weak and won’t stand up to their threat, and it communicates to his forces (and all other American and allied forces considering his rank and status) that they must prepare hard for a possible coming global war centered on China and they must do it now.

AMC Commanders Order Memorandum Page 1
AMC Commanders Order Memorandum page 2

Unfortunately, it also appears America doesn’t have many warriors left by some of the comments from anonymous airmen in Air Mobility Command and a lot of the responses we’re seeing from DOD and other so-called government leadership. Those are just confirmations that General Minihan is right, his force is not ready to do the hard things to prepare for all-out war and he is responsible for getting them there.  The CCP is observing just how weak we have become as we and our allies are completely distracted and directing nearly all of our resources elsewhere, so as I’ve said before, the coming war he is rightly preparing his forces for is likely to be on our doorstep even sooner than 2025. We need more Generals like Minihan if deterrence fails and we are going to win in the coming war. There are more like him as what he says in his order is not an outlier when compared to other senior officer warnings. However, it is beyond time for more commanders to be forcefully and aggressively preparing their forces publicly.

Strength means peace but the CCP perceives us as very weak and distracted, it’s time to publicize our intent loudly, not put out weak statements like the Department of Defense did essentially saying Minihan’s thinking doesn’t reflect that of the DoD. In fact, it is time to promote Minihan to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and rid ourselves of Mark Milley and his ilk.

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What should we do to deter China? General Minihan’s order can apply in large part to the rest of the Air Force and all combat and logistics forces should apply his directive to their own commands as soon as possible. Short and long range combat units should immediately review INDOPACOM operations plans and adjust them for a beyond-theater war that will likely involve China’s allies, including Russia and North Korea. Logistically, in addition to airlift and tanker forces Minihan controls, American and allied war reserve materials must be replenished in the theater and around the world in an accelerated manner. Our Air Force nuclear forces must be funded to refurbish outdated systems and new systems fielded on an accelerated schedule. A joint strategic targeting team-China needs to be established and the Air Force should take the lead as it grows and develops into a Strategic Command level task force. Air Force nuclear deterrence bomber forces should be forward deployed again to the region to include expanding basing beyond Guam alone. Our fighter extended deterrence capability should be offered to Japan and South Korea immediately.

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If we do these things on an accelerated schedule, we could still prevent this war and deter China as General Minihan states in his warning order. We ignore the reality he reveals at our own peril.

This piece was written by Col. Rob Maness on February 2, 2023. It originally appeared in RobManess.com and is used by permission.

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