- As the US battles the coronavirus, the Chinese, Russian, North Korean, and Iranian militaries have all been active, in some cases creating headaches for the US military.
- “This is why I said we must maintain our national mission capabilities – our readiness, our ability to protect the United States – because our adversaries are not standing down,” Secretary of Defence Mark Esper told Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today.”
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has said that it would be a “terrible and tragic mistake” for US adversaries to think that they can take advantage of the US during this “time of crisis.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The US is battling a severe coronavirus outbreak, but America’s rivals and adversaries are not standing down, the secretary of defence said Thursday, stressing the importance of maintaining military readiness even in the middle of a pandemic.
The Chinese, Russian, North Korean, and Iranian militaries have all been active over the past few days, in some cases creating new headaches for the US military.
“This is why I said we must maintain our national mission capabilities – our readiness, our ability to protect the United States – because our adversaries are not standing down,” Secretary of Defence Mark Esper told Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today.”
Eleven Iranian vessels “conducted dangerous and harassing approaches” against US Navy and Coast Guard vessels operating in international waters Wednesday, repeatedly crossing the bows and sterns of the US ships, at one point coming within just 10 yards of a US vessel, the US Navy said.
On the same day, a Russian Su-35 fighter intercepted a US Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea. The Russian jet, the Navy said, carried out an “unsafe” manoeuvre close to the US aircraft, flying inverted at high speeds 25 feet in front of it.
A day prior, North Korea fired off what are suspected to have been cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles.
And a Chinese naval flotilla, led by the aircraft carrier Liaoning. has been conducting military exercises in the Pacific, where the US Navy is dealing with a serious coronavirus outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
The PLA Navy said Monday that more drills ought to be expected in the future as China works to increase the combat capability of its carrier groups.
Esper told Guthrie Thursday that “this is a normal week for DoD.”
The novel coronavirus that first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has spread around the world. In the US, there are 640,000 cases, and more than 30,000 people have died. The Department of Defence has seen over 4,000 cases, to include 2,486 cases among the department’s service members.
Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned US military personnel this month that “many of our adversaries, as you know, are trying to exploit this crisis, so it’s important that we maintain readiness.”
Milly added that it would be a “terrible and tragic mistake” for US adversaries and rivals to think they can get the better of the US “at a time of crisis.”
“The US military is very, very capable to conduct whatever operations are necessary to defend the American people,” he said. “We are ready today. We’ll be ready tomorrow.”
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