Ukraine War a ‘Warm-Up’, Admiral Warns 

Russia’s war in Ukraine is a prelude to greater military challenges to the U.S. in the near future, the head of U.S. Stratcom warned. 

The Ukraine crisis is just the “warm-up,” and the U.S. is losing its competitive edge in nuclear weapons capabilities, U.S. Strategic Command head Admiral Charles Richard warned in a speech last week. 

“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warm-up,” said Richard. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested in a long time.”

The stark words came at the Naval Submarine League’s 2022 Annual Symposium & Industry Update last week Wednesday. 

Richard warned that the U.S. was losing its nuclear deterrence against competitors like China and Russia.

“As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking,” he said. “It is sinking slowly, but it is sinking, as fundamentally they are putting capability in the field faster than we are.”

The Pentagon also presented a dire situation in the nuclear capabilities between U.S., Russia, and China in its National Defense Strategy paper published on October 27. 

“Our principal competitors continue to expand and diversify their nuclear capabilities, to include novel and destabilizing systems, as well as non-nuclear capabilities that could be used to conduct strategic attacks,” the Pentagon paper said.  

“They have demonstrated little interest in reducing their reliance on nuclear weapons. By contrast, the United States is focused on the timely replacement of legacy fielded systems that are rapidly approaching their end of service life.” 

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh expressed more confidence regarding U.S. competition with China on Friday, saying the U.S. feels confident in its capabilities compared to China. 

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