Army Gen. Mark Milley warned cadets graduating from West Point about the future of war as their commencement speaker Saturday.
Milley, who has served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since 2019, warned cadets that international conflicts will only increase amid Ukraine’s conflict with Russia and President Joe Biden’s recent redeployment of troops to Somalia.
“The world you are being commissioned into has the potential for significant international conflict between great powers. And that potential is increasing, not decreasing,” Milley said. “Whatever overmatch we, the United States, enjoyed militarily for the last 70 years is closing quickly, and the United States will be, in fact, we already are challenged in every domain of warfare: space, cyber, maritime, air, and of course land.”
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The Joint Chiefs chairman referenced Russian aggression in Europe, China’s dramatic economic and military growth, North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats in Asia, and instability caused by terrorists in the Middle East and Africa in his commencement address. He went on to suggest peace solutions will come via long-range precision weapons and new advanced technologies. These graduates will likely use artificial intelligence, robotic vehicles, and 3D printing technologies in their service to the nation.
“It will be your generation that will carry the burden and shoulder the responsibility to maintain the peace, to contain and to prevent the outbreak of great power war,” Milley said.
In closing, Milley quoted a Bob Dylan song, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” released around the time he himself graduated. “We can feel the light breeze in the air,” the lyrics read. “And right now as we sit here on the plain at West Point, we can see the storm flags fluttering in the wind. We can hear in the distance the loud clap of thunder. The hard rain is about to fall.”
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Dylan was known for his anti-war advocacy, highlighted in songs such as “With God on Our Side” and “Masters of War.”