When people think of World War 3, there is likely few scenarios where the factors involved exclude some form of nuclear weapons exchange between the United States and either Russia or China. What is usually not considered is how quickly a conventional warfare situation might escalate into a limited nuclear war that does not stay limited for long. In fact, a panel of U.S. military leaders is in agreement that a confrontation between the United States and/or NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) against the Russian Federation, or perhaps China, will last but a few brief minutes. In their words, World War 3 will be "lethal and fast."
The Daily Mail reported recently that a meeting of the Association of U.S. Army in Washington, D.C., revealed that Army leaders believe that, given that a major war between rival powerful nations, according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, "is almost guaranteed" sometime in the future, artificial intelligence and smart weapons will dominate the conflict. Even conventional confrontations will be over in a matter of minutes.
Maj. Gen. William Hix's words were particularly ominous, according to Defense One. He predicted that some new type of "relationship" would have to be developed in the far future as machines become quicker and take over more of the decision-making process.
"A conventional conflict in the near future will be extremely lethal and fast, and we will not own the stopwatch."Hix, who currently serves as director of strategy, plans, and policy for the U.S. Army Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, went on: "The speed of events are likely to strain our human abilities. The speed at which machines can make decisions in the far future is likely to challenge our ability to cope, demanding a new relationship between man and machine."
Hix then referenced the technological advancements being made by Russia and China, noting that the U.S. should prepare for "violence on the scale that the US Army has not seen since Korea."
Also speaking on the panel toward the future of the military, Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson said the U.S. faces threats from "modern nation-states acting aggressively in militarized competition." That was not only an obvious allusion to Russia, which has conducted a constant series of military drills and exercises over the past few years, but a set-up to Anderson's next words that directly identified at least one of those nation-states of which he spoke.
"Who does that sound like?" he asked rhetorically. "Russia?"
Chief of Staff Milley also stated that the future of war was not limited to the traditional battlefield but insisted that the U.S. should be better prepared to engage in cyber warfare and conflicts set in an urban situation.
In listing the challenges faced by the modern American Army on the world stage, Milley noted that there was a renewed threat from Russia, a growing economic and military rival in China, an ever-increasing number of weak nation states that could be exploited by aggressors or may need protection, and the encroaching effects of climate change that could easily present more instances of instability around the globe.
He added with emphasis, "While we're ready now, we are being challenged."
The Association of the U.S. Army panel's conclusions and general recommendations are practically extensions of think tanks like the Atlantic Council, which has warned of the growing aggressiveness of the Russian Federation. Back in July, as reported on by the Inquisitr, the Atlantic Council issued a report wherein it warned that the U.S. and NATO should be wary of the Russian military's propensity for conducting exercises and drills, especially those drills that have been close to the borders of former states that once were part of the Soviet Union (the Russia-dominated political entity that preceded the Federation). It further warned that Russia could use exercises to mask the launch of an invasion virtually "overnight" and "with no warning," especially into the vulnerable Baltic States, and be in control in a matter of hours.
Retired NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove reiterated those warnings, according to a separate Inquisitr report, to the organization last month, insisting that NATO was ill-prepared to defend against a concentrated invasion by the Russians. He noted that if Russia were to quickly gain control over Europe, the nation's air and naval superiority would easily block any attempts by NATO allies -- or any other countries -- in the Western Hemisphere from rendering aid and/or reinforcements.
The increased militarization of Russia and China appear to be forcing the United States, which has been a dominant military power for roughly a century, to at least remain on an equal footing with its rivals. The increased tensions with Russia, from the border disputes with eastern Europe and Ukraine to the breakdown in the negotiations concerning the Syrian civil war ceasefire, and China, as the Asian nation exerts its influence in the South China Sea, will test the United States' diplomatic and military skills in the future -- if to do nothing more than contain situations that could potentially lead to World War 3.
And those situations may just be smaller wars fought between nation states, proxy wars where the more powerful countries take sides and push their own agendas. At present, those proxy situations exist in places like Ukraine, where there is a stand-off between a bolstered Russian military presence on the border and an American-backed government in Kiev, and in Syria's civil war, where the Bashar al-Assad regime, backed by Russia, is barely holding its own against the American-supported Syrian rebels.
It is those proxy battlefields, and in the Pacific waters surrounding the ongoing problems in the South China Sea, where the weapons of the future of which the Army generals spoke are being tested and honed. In short, it is part of a new arms race between the U.S., Russia, and China to develop the best, most effective weapons systems in which to fight the next generation of wars.
[Feature Image by DarkGeometryStudios/Shutterstock]