Members of the online alien and UFO conspiracy theory community took his reference to "little green men" and "hybrid armies" -- in the context of understanding of the terms in alien and UFO folklore -- as an admission that the U.S. military is preparing secretly for an alien space invasion that would involve U.S. troops fighting alien armies, alien-human hybrids, or alien-machine hybrids (cyborgs) from space.
The news spread quickly in the alien and UFO conspiracy theory blogosphere and on social media, including Reddit, sparking wild speculation about the details of what was understood as a senior military officer letting slip shocking and earthshaking information that the U.S. military is involved in secret preparations for a war against alien invaders.
"Wow, little green men! Why doesn't he call them ETs? Nonetheless, this is great, he acknowledges them!" an alien enthusiast exclaimed.
But skeptics have scoffed at the suggestion that an army chief has just admitted that the U.S. is preparing for a 21st-century Star Wars, pointing out that the terms have specific meanings in military lingo.
According to Open Mind-TV's Alejandro Rojas, military specialists have explained that the U.S. Army Chief of Staff was not suggesting to the cadets that the military was preparing to fight alien invaders. The terms are used in military lingo in reference to aspects of modern warfare that have nothing to do with aliens or space invaders.
The term "hybrid armies" refers to the combination of conventional and non-conventional tactics and strategies that many non-state militias and military forces (e.g. al-Qaeda and ISIS) fighting the U.S. military have adopted. It also refers to the extension of warfare by state actors into previously unknown spheres, such as the Chinese and Russians waging cyber warfare against U.S. government agencies and the military.
The term "little green" originated during the takeover of Crimea by Russia in 2014. It referred at the time to masked armed men dressed in unmarked military uniforms and driving unmarked vehicles.
Although the Kremlin denied that the men were Russian troops, they were believed widely to be Russian special forces trained in unconventional methods of warfare.
The local population began referring to the men as "little green men" because although everyone knew they were Russian special forces. However, the Kremlin officially denied their presence in Crimea and Ukraine.
Skeptics have rebuked alien and UFO conspiracy theorists for spreading rumors that the U.S. military has admitted a looming alien invasion.
"You people are dumb," a skeptic said in exasperation. "The reference to 'hybrid' is not science fictional creatures, but a type of asymmetric warfare that blends a regular army and professional mercenaries with irregular units, as we saw during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014."
Another said, "The term 'hybrid armies' refers to Hybrid Warfare. They will be dealing with this when they become officers. Secondly, the term 'little green men' is likely referring to 'masked soldiers in unmarked green army uniforms that appeared during the Ukrainian crisis of 2014.'"
[Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]