The 2022 graduates of the United States Military Academy are America’s most valuable asset; its most important asymmetrical advantage and they represent what is inherent in the U.S. military, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the academy class of West Point, New York.
As the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony today, the President told graduates they were essential to the military.
“[You] became a team,” he said. “And you’re going to lean on each other for the rest of your lives.”
Milley told the graduates, who were made second lieutenants, that they represent the quality that gives America its unique strength. “You are what makes the United States fearless in the face of the difficult and driven by the impossible,” he said.
It was at the end of World War II that leaders crafted the rules-based international order of the US military, and that structure is now under intense strain, the president said. “It will be your generation that will bear the burden and assume the responsibility of keeping the peace, containing and preventing the outbreak of a war between great powers,” he said.
Right now, a fundamental shift is taking place in the very character of warfare, he said. “We are facing, at this moment, two world powers: China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, and both fully intent on changing the current rules-based order.”
And in Ukraine, we learn the lesson that “aggression left unaddressed only emboldens the aggressor,” Milley said. “Let us never forget the massacre we just witnessed in Bucha. Know the massacre that happened in Mariupol. And the best way to honor their sacrifice is to support their fight for freedom and stand against tyranny.”
As the United States enters a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, the world the graduates are sent to presents the potential for significant international conflict between great powers, he told them.
“And that potential is increasing, not decreasing,” he added. “We are also about to change the fundamental character of war. The nature of war is not going to change. It is always a political act. It is a decision of humans to impose their political will on their adversary. using violence.”
But the character of warfare, how wars are fought, where wars are fought, and with what weapons, technologies, organizations, and doctrines—in short, the ways and means of warfare—is undergoing fundamental, profound, and significant change, has underlined the president.
“You enter a different world,” he said. “The United States faces significant challenges in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. We see Russia vengeful, as we have just seen another invasion in Ukraine. In Asia, we are in the third decade of the greatest global economic change in 500 years, culminating in China’s rapid growth as a great power with a revisionist foreign policy backed by an increasingly capable military.”
In addition, in Asia, the United States faces North Korea, which is rapidly increasing its missile and nuclear weapons deliverables, he said, adding that in the Middle East and parts of the Africa, we continue to see instability due to terrorism in many places.
“[The] the maturity of various technologies that exist today or are in advanced stages of development, when combined, are likely to on their own change the character of warfare,” Milley noted.
“You will fight with robotic tanks, ships and planes,” he said. “We have seen a revolution in lethality and precision munitions. What was once the exclusive domain of the US military is now available to most nation states with the money and the will to acquire it.”
There is a wide variety of technologies in development, synthetic fuels, 3D manufacturing, medicine, human engineering and improving these will also have significant military implications, he said.
“And finally, there’s the mother of all technology – artificial intelligence – where machines actually develop the ability to learn and reason,” the president said. “These rapidly converging developments in time and space are driving this profound shift – the most profound shift ever recorded in human history. cyber, sea, air and land.
In the future, the president said, we can, through rigorous analysis, determine what the world will look like. There will be many surprises along the way in the development of forces and weapons, but the structure and organization of our joint forces will have to change dramatically, he said. We all need to be open-minded. We can no longer cling to the concepts and organizations and weapons of the past, he added.
“In your world, you’re going to have to optimize for urban combat, not rural combat,” Milley said. “This has huge implications for intelligence gathering, vehicles, weapons design, development, logistics, camouflage and every other aspect of our progression.”
The US military must change its ways of thinking, training and fighting, he added. The joint combat concepts being developed will help guide the army as a roadmap for the future, he said, adding that the army must chart that course very quickly.
And we need to develop leaders who have incredible character under the intense pressure of ground combat, and there is nothing greater than ground combat leaders who will make the right moral and ethical choices, as well as the right tactical choice in the most emotionally charged environment you will have. never faced, he told the graduates, adding, “Each of you are those leaders.
The accumulation of challenges facing the United States and the changing character of warfare are unlike anything the nation has faced before, Milley pointed out.
“Globally, there is an increase in nationalism and authoritarian governments, regional arms races and unresolved territorial claims, ethnic and sectarian conflicts and an attempt by some countries to return to an 18th century concept of a balance of power. political powers with spheres of influence,” he added. mentioned.
“As you walk into your future, have the vision to change and prevent war from happening in the first place,” he said. Keeping the peace through the strength of the U.S. military and the example of our values is yours today,” he added.
“We are proud of you. You have a difficult and dangerous road ahead of you, and no one should underestimate it,” the president said. “But you also have the opportunity to navigate these treacherous roads and lead our nation’s most precious resource: the young men and women who don the garb of this nation, the American soldier.”