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Joint Chiefs Chairman Disconnected from Reality Regarding China

Joint Chiefs Chairman Disconnected from Reality Regarding China

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley displays shocking naiveté in remarks on China; compare to a military leader who doesn’t have his head in the sand

We have long documented the total lack of hard-nosed military leadership of Army General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on topics ranging from his embrace of CRT and DEI initiatives, to his unqualified support for giving away a third of our critical front-line anti-tank and anti-air missile systems, to his presiding over a major military recruiting crisis due to his own embrace of wokeness and COVID vaccine mandates:

We’re not the only ones who have noticed.

Last week, in Commander Salamander’s excellent Substack, comes an on-point but stark comparison between remarks made last week about China by General Milley and comments previously made about China by Admiral Charles A. Richard, until recently the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which is responsible for the employment of the nation’s nuclear weapons, among other responsibilities.  The substance of the two speeches could not be more different.

As Salamander points out in an article entitled “A Tale of Two 4-Stars,” Admiral Richard, who retired in December 2022, had this to say while still the Commander of STRATCOM:

“We are witnessing a strategic breakout by China. The explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as breathtaking. And frankly, that word breathtaking may not be enough,” he said.

China is rapidly improving its strategic nuclear capability and capacity, Richard said.  It’s growing and enhancing its missile force, including multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles.  These include intermediate range ballistic missiles, mobile ICBMs and submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missiles.

Beijing is also pursuing advanced weapons such as hypersonics, he said.

“Because of these challenges our current terrestrial- and space-based sensor architecture may not be sufficient to detect and track these hypersonic missiles,” he said.

In 2019, China tested more ballistic missiles than the rest of the world combined, he noted.

Beijing is also developing a modern nuclear command and control capability and is modernizing its conventional forces to include ships, submarines and aircraft, he added.

“They have the largest Navy in the world and they have the third largest air force in the world,” he said.

Admiral Richard addressing the crowd at at the Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama in 2021:

Full disclosure, I never served on the same submarine with Admiral Richard, but I did interact with him often during my Navy career.  While I was Executive Officer of USS Boston (SSN-703), then a front-line attack submarine in the mid-1990s, he was Officer-in-Charge of NR-1, then the United States Navy’s only nuclear-powered, deep-submergence submarine, which was often on the same waterfront as USS Boston at the sub base in Groton, CT.  Later, while I was the staff submariner on the Navy’s Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, Admiral Richard came and briefed my surface warfare admiral, me, and a few select others on the sub force’s latest intel collection capability, some of which I hadn’t even been briefed on (need to know, etc.), which left the admiral I worked for quite surprised, shocked even. The brief was a tour de force—-standard operating procedure for Admiral Richard.

Anyway, compare Admiral Richard’s hard-boiled, factual, chilling observations about the country that is rapidly reaching par with our own military capabilities, if they’re not there already, with the following comments from Army General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

The Joint Chiefs chairman warned against the rise of “overheated” rhetoric of a looming U.S. war with China, and he said he doubts China’s chances of “conquering” Taiwan….

“I think there’s a lot of rhetoric in China, and a lot of rhetoric elsewhere, to include the United States, that could create the perception that war is right around the corner or we’re on the brink of war with China,” Milley said in an interview with Defense One.

“And that could happen. I mean, it is possible that you could have an incident or some other trigger event that could lead to uncontrolled escalation. So, it’s not impossible. But I don’t think at this point I would put it in the likely category,” said Milley. “And I think that the rhetoric itself can overheat the environment.”…

Milley said Taiwan needs air defense, anti-ship cruise missiles, and anti-ship mines. But he said the island itself, its population of 23 million—including 170,000 active duty military and 1-to-2 million reserves,—and China’s lack of experience make a takeover unlikely. “It favors the defense. It would be a very difficult island to capture,” he said.

“For the Chinese to conduct an amphibious and airborne operation to seize that island—to actually seize it?—That’s a really difficult operation. But Xi put the challenge out there, and we’ll see where it goes.”

As Salamander says, these are “[t]wo very different men with two very different approaches.  Pick your player.”

He also notes that Milley, as described in Milley’s own words:

1. Did not see [Afghanistan] falling as fast as it did.

2. Held no one accountable for #1, even himself.

3. Called his [Chinese Army] counterpart concerning a domestic political issue [regarding then-President Trump].

4. In open, in front of Congress and everyone, pretends to be ignorant of his military’s engagement in gender socio-political culture wars [regarding drag shows on military bases]- an ignorance that supports one side of the political spectrum, while also being enthusiastic in his military’s and personal involvement in another socio-political culture war topic [all things DEI and CRT-related, including “White Rage”] – an advocacy that supports the same side of the political spectrum as his ignorance.

I could not agree more.  The total unseriousness of General Milley, which, as mentioned, we have documented before here, is shocking. And this cartoon is totally on point regarding Milley’s preparedness regarding Afghanistan:

Last night on Tucker President Trump weighed in, relating a ridiculous recommendation Milley made regarding critical military hardware in Afghanistan, and calling Milley an “idiot”:

A final point: While it is not surprising that a four-star Commander of STRATCOM would retire after completing his tour of duty there, and after a full 30-year plus career, as Admiral Richard has done, it is worth noting who is still there at the four-star level and who is not.  Richard, the hard-nosed, reality-based warfighter is gone, and Milley, the clueless, wishy-washy, head-in-the-sand sycophant, is still there.

And while I have not spoken to Admiral Richard about his motivation for retiring, it is worth noting that Admiral Richard, while STRATCOM Commander, “was among the candidates shortlisted to succeed [Air Force General] Hyten as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”  I have to believe Richard’s decision to retire, rather than continue moving up in his military career, at least in-part relates to what Bill Whittle talked about way back during the Obama years about personnel saying goodbye to their military careers, and which is all the more apropos now:

[By the way, if you don’t subscribe to Cdr Salamander’s Substack, you should. I do, it’s free, and it’s a breath of fresh air about the military in these woke, DEI/CRT-centric times.]


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2smartforlibs | April 12, 2023 at 1:04 pm

I don’t think the header needed REGARDING CHINA.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | April 12, 2023 at 1:19 pm


Thoroughly Modern Milley committed treason in informing to his Chinese generals/handlers at the end of Trump’s term. TREASON.

Milley is disconnected from reality, period.

    Brian in reply to mbecker908. | April 12, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    With respect, I disagree. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He sees his advancement in either the private or public sectors as requiring his wokeness fides. And the source of his post-military funding is irrelevant to him. IMO.

      Joe-dallas in reply to Brian. | April 12, 2023 at 3:38 pm

      following up on Brian’s point – There was a huge purge of competent military officers during the Obuma administration, thus shift to wokeness.

      It was during the obama adminstration that the concept that climate change was going to be the cause of the next major military conflict.

      the way to get ahead in any organization is to do what the boss likes, and the boss (obuma) liked stupid shit.

      Miley isn’t “woke” – he’s a corrupt useful idiot/corporate hack with little shame and self-awareness.

      Just look at the ridiculous amount of “fruit salad” (i.e. medals on his uniform, NONE having to do with acts of heroism.

      Comapre to George S. Patton’s “fruid salad”

        I stopped paying attention to any medal lower than the Purple Heart about 40 years ago. Shiny new airman began appearing at my base with shiny new ribbons – a medal for completing Basic Training! My own Good Conduct and Longevity ribbons – with oak leaf clusters or whatever that little pip was – were embarrassing enough, but a medal for boot camp?

    fscarn in reply to mbecker908. | April 12, 2023 at 2:32 pm

    But not disconnected from a knife, fork and spoon.

    The USMC requires even senior officials to complete an annual physical test.

    The Army has no such counterpart?

The Gentle Grizzly | April 12, 2023 at 1:25 pm

He’s white, er, White; How did he get that far and be that stupid?

    PersonofInterests in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | April 12, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    I suspect Commander-in-Chief O’Dinglebarry from 2008-2016 figured prominent in this scumbag being in command.

    According to the Peter Principle a person is promoted again and again until finally reaching a level at which they are found to be incompetent. For Milley that was 2nd Lieutenant. So I guess I’ll have to look for some other reason.

Hey. It’s not up to you to judge how truly two people love one another.
Disclosure: I have never accused Mark Milley of sexting Li Zuocheng during work hours.

The vile and execrable Milley is too busy combating alleged “white rage” and making accommodation for trannies, to actually focus his attention and energies on enemies of the U.S. and our allies. Priorities, don’t you know.

I’ve written previously that in a sane and just world, Milley would have been strung up by his nuts, posthaste, for his brazen insubordination undermining then-President Trump, and, rank treason, by having phoned his Chinese equivalent to assure him that he, Milley, would give him advance notice of any attack ordered on China by then-President, Trump.

Feeling more secure everyday

He’s got a lot more rows of medals than Eisenhower, so he’s got that going for him.

    PersonofInterests in reply to rhhardin. | April 12, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    But note that none are from duty serving in a combat zone. He’s an Academic and graduated from Princeton (same a Moochell O’Dinglebarry which may figure prominently) with a degree in politics and several masters degrees from Columbia, and even attended MIT. He’s a “Paper Pusher” with rank. Read all about this clown online and you won’t find anything except that he is a Politician who wears a uniform.

    He’s a phony and a deterrent to encouraging enlistment as much as are Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin and Resident O’Biden.

    markm in reply to rhhardin. | April 19, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Ike was a paper pusher with rank, too. He served for 39 years, IIRC, often in combat zones, but never in combat. Not that he tried to avoid it, but when he graduated from West Point right into the expedition into Mexico against Pancho Villa, he happened to be in one of the units that never found Pancho Villa or his men. In WWI, he performed miracles getting his unit equipped and trained and ready to board the ship to France – but the brass held him back when they shipped, because they needed the same miracles for the next batch, and so on until the war ended with Eisenhower still in the states. He rose to general during over 20 years of peace, and when another war started, he was too high-ranking to serve at the front.

China is a maritime dependent country with a brown water navy.

Sooner or later, China will have to try and sail its navy to the Middle East and try and pry the Straits open so they can escort their tankers. But, their short legged ships are built to cross 90 miles to Taiwan. They cannot sail to the Middle East, even though they import 85% of their energy needs.

Has General MilleyVanilli been convicted, and awaiting execution, for treason against the USA when he colluded with the ChiComs in 2020 to undermine CiC Trump??

(After a fair trial, of course)

PersonofInterests | April 12, 2023 at 2:16 pm

Benedict Milley should have been arrested, Court Martialed, and put up against a wall for his punishment after the revelations that he called his Communist Chinese counterpart to promise advance warning if his Commander in Chief, Donald Trump, ordered an attack.

I wore a military uniform of the United States, but I can assure that I wouldn’t be so motivated today with traitors like Milley in command.

Leaving behind $80+ Billion of American Military Equipment, including an operational airbase hundreds of aircraft, and causing the death of 13 American soldiers in what was the Afghanistan Retreat Disaster, should be the second rationale to put Milley and all who remained silent up against a wall to recieve punishment for their treason.

He also presided on the unconditional surrender in Afghanistan with the whole world watching and taking notes. As a four star general, he is a disgrace.

BierceAmbrose | April 12, 2023 at 3:41 pm

How many of those ribbons are for action against enemies — external enemies, I mean.

    CommoChief in reply to BierceAmbrose. | April 12, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    The two CIB and the multiple Bronze Stars were earned in Combat operations though they are pretty much handed out to SR officers at BN and higher for a ‘combat tour’. Big difference in degree of difficulty and price paid between those and the Bronze Stars earned by enlisted troops or Jr Officers at Company level.

      mbecker908 in reply to CommoChief. | April 12, 2023 at 4:38 pm

      No member of the Army or Marine Corps should be awarded a medal for valor (Bronze/Siver Star ++) if they were not actively taking fire. For those that have them, they should be shot at.

        diver64 in reply to mbecker908. | April 12, 2023 at 5:39 pm

        Exactly right. Too many get Bronze Stars for showing up in Theater and they have nothing to do with Valor but with doing a competent job with the paperwork. War Fighters know the difference and look at these guys with a distinct lack of respect.

          texansamurai in reply to diver64. | April 12, 2023 at 10:29 pm

          War Fighters know the difference and look at these guys with a distinct lack of respect.
          true–have an uncle who was a naval aviator in the pacific–a silver star recipient with multiple dfcs with the ” acorn ” clusters as well as the obligatory campaign/theatre ribbons–had quite a spread on his chest after the war–went to a veterans affair with him once and he was wearing only his wings–asked him why and he said that all that other stuff was given to him by other people but his wings he earned all by himself

        Generals often get medals as political gestures. In Milleys’ case, they’re like the kind of gold stars a grade school teacher hands out when you do your homework.

        He’s a total hack, not a real general. As we’ve learned though history, hack generals get a lot of good people killed.

        Just ask the famlies of anyone who served under the likes of Lloyd Fredendall – and died:

        CommoChief in reply to mbecker908. | April 12, 2023 at 7:51 pm

        I agree. When SR officers become recipients of the Bronze Star it has turned those particular awards into a good conduct medal for BN/BDE level CDR/XO/ S3 in theater.

        That’s why I made the distinction between those sorts and the Bronze Stars earned by enlisted troops and JR Officers at the Company level.

        Anyone who has been awarded a Bronze Star as an E6 or lower for enlisted or as LT/CW3 for Officers damn well earned it. Most CPT and CW4 did as well but there are some ass kissers and ‘golden boys’ who got one for for being there and b/c there were some Congressman’s nephew or General Officers Kid. I saw both of those in person and couldn’t have been more disgusted.

Sun Zhu’s “Art of War” in action. China’s long game is to win without firing a shot but willing to bet it all to “convince” their enemy to surrender rather than be wiped out. In this inverted world…”better red than dead”. It will eventually come down to submarine portion of the triad. Land based and air just won’t cut it and surface fleet vulnerable to nuke missiles. We are probably at a time where a preventative war is no longer possible.

    Bozo the Clown’s Art of War is more effective than anything coming from Obama’s third term.

    Painful Reality in reply to alaskabob. | April 13, 2023 at 9:10 am

    China is well aware of the U.S. dependency on it’s submarine fleet to prepare and exploit the battlefield. This is wholly evident by China’s recent carrier exercises (2 wks ago). For every 2 fighters launched 1 helicopter was launched. 80 jets and 40 helos in a day. Helos are devastating to submarines in brown water and will be able to standoff a submarine incursion.

Milley’s retirement date is October 2023, hopefully he won’t do much more damage before he is out.

Anyone else miss that administration tool Milley ordering Catholic Priests out of Walter Reed during Easter? He is a hack and proves that if you want to advance beyond Captain you have to sell your sole to whatever political influence is holding sway in The Pentagon and The White House. Nothing but contempt for this formally good man.

I know this is an inconvenient truth, but it was Donald Trump who appointed him to this position.

    CaptTee in reply to JR. | April 13, 2023 at 11:16 am

    99.99% of General appointments are made based on DoD and Secretary and Under Secretary recommendations to the President who nominates them.

E Howard Hunt | April 12, 2023 at 9:39 pm

I still think he’s transitioning.

Maybe he is connected with the reality that the Biden Family is bought and paid for by the Chinese Communist Party?

Capt. Nault’s recommendation to subscribe to Cdr Salamander’s Substack is a good one, Plenty of good information and lively discussion there.

Steven Brizel | April 13, 2023 at 10:28 pm

Milley is worse than those commanders who were asleep at the switch before Pearl Harvor

Miller isn’t clueless on China, the armed forces recruiting objectives(would you join the armed forces of a nation whose top civilian and uniformed leadership prides itself on that disorganized rout [by any standard it wasn’t aa withdrawal or even an orderly retreat] we all saw on TV because Milley is more interested in learning learning about “white rage” then not gearing his people killed?) Or anything else. He knows exactly the road to destruction the left has chosen for the country. He just doesn’t care. 3 and 4 stars are temporaryre temporary appointments. Flag and general officers only hold those grades while in billets that statutory require them. CJCS is such an appointment. He wants to retire in grade, rather than at his last permanent grade in which he performed satisfactorily, or 2 stars. He’ll go along with anything including selling out to China to hold onto those stars and that retirement package.

To call him a whole is an insult to whores. My favorite bar in Bangkok is the King’s X. They used to keep boardgames behind the bar. My favorite is Jenga. On slow days I might spend hours playing it with the girls. I’d buy them drinks, some snacks, always tip well.; I was usually playing the bartender. Of course, she was a hooker, too. But she had more integrity in her little finger than empire builders like Milley could ever hope to have and her company was far.more pleasant.