Milley calls for expanded communication between US, Russian militaries

Milley calls for expanded communication between US, Russian militaries
© Greg Nash

U.S. and Russian forces should increase their communication to help prevent a possible future conflict between Washington and Moscow, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyFormer envoy: U.S. 'did not succeed' in building democratic Afghanistan Poll: New Hampshire Senate race tight Republicans would need a promotion to be 'paper tigers' MORE.

“It’s important to have an effective means of military-to-military communications in order to clearly understand each other’s positions on very difficult issues and to develop a relationship where we are candid and professional, which in times of crisis can become a very important means in order to de-escalate any kind of crisis situation,” Milley told reporters traveling with him after he met his Russian counterpart in Finland last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Milley — who has recently been embroiled in a political firestorm over a report he assured his Chinese counterpart that he would warn him of any U.S. attack following former President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE’s election loss — said adding to already established lines of communication would help each side better understand the other’s moves. 

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Currently, only senior military leaders such as Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Biden remarks on Taiwan leave administration scrambling Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan MORE, Milley and the supreme allied commander for Europe can reach out to the Russian military, Milley said, according to The Associated Press.

But should the U.S. government allow its military service chiefs to speak with their Russian counterparts — something that is currently not allowed — the U.S. defense officials could contact Moscow’s generals to avoid conflict wherever there are tensions. 

“We need to put in place policies and procedures to make sure that we increase certainty, to reduce uncertainty, increase trust to reduce distrust, increase stability to reduce instability in order to avoid miscalculation and reduce the possibility of great power war,” Milley said. “That’s a fundamental thing that we should try to do, and I am going to try to do it.” 

Milley’s comments come after he traveled across Europe last week and met with Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov for six hours in Helsinki, the second in-person meeting between the two.

President BidenJoe BidenRand Paul calls for Fauci's firing over 'lack of judgment' Dems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Six big off-year elections you might be missing MORE and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin blasts cancel culture, calls gender fluidity 'crime against humanity' Russia breaks daily COVID-19 infections, death record US, allied nations force REvil ransomware group offline: report MORE met at a summit in Geneva in June and agreed to restart stability talks, the first round of which was held in July. A second round is planned for this week.