The United States must be ready for nuclear war as current conflicts could escalate “very rapidly,” according to a stark warning from the U.S. Strategic Command on Monday.

The U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) is a “global warfighting command” that operates to “deter strategic attack and employ forces, as directed, to guarantee the security of our Nation and our Allies,” according to its website.

It also controls any launch of nuclear weapons.

It came as the agency prepared to testify before Congress on Tuesday morning, warning that the United States is potentially facing “two nuclear-capable, strategic peer adversaries at the same time” from Russia and China.

Specifically, Commander Charles Richard of STRATCOM, alongside Commander James Dickinson of U.S. Space Command, will be giving testimony to the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Armed Services on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The posture review will inform Congress about Strategic Command’s current condition and what it plans to do with its budget request for 2022.

Undated image (Screenshot by TheBL//Twitter/U.S. Strategic Command

It also offers information on potential conflicts that are likely to occur and its combat readiness.

In a preview of their statement, Strategic Command noted: ‘The spectrum of conflict today is neither linear nor predictable. 

‘We must account for the possibility of conflict leading to conditions which could very rapidly drive an adversary to consider nuclear use as their least bad option.’

Ahead of the review,  Commander Richard said his force faces the challenging role of preparing for a war that has never been fought before.

Undated image of Commander Charles Richard (Credit: US Navy)

The four-star admiral told The Hill: ‘United States Space Command faces a unique dilemma in that we can’t plan for future conflicts based on how we fought previous battles even if we were inclined to do so. Rather, we are preparing for the war not yet fought. 

“Why do we need to prepare for such a conflict when space has traditionally been a peaceful domain, open to all for exploration, and whose benefits improve the lives of virtually every human being on Earth? 

“As I will soon testify to Congress, the answer is because highly capable competitors realize the extraordinary military and economic advantages that space-based capabilities give to the United States and our allies.”

The testimony will be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday and will be delivered by Commander Richard alongside US Space Command's Commander James Dickinson (pictured)
Undated image of U.S. Space Command’s Commander James Dickinson (Credit: US Department of Defense)

Last month, STRATCOM cautioned that the United States must now prepare for a full-scale nuclear war with China or Russia.

According to Gen. Richard, the prospect of an apocalyptic war between rival superpowers is now a “real possibility.”

His stark World War 3-type warning, made in a major new review of the current balance of nuclear firepower, comes amid mounting global tensions.

“There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” he wrote.

The army general claimed that both countries have now “begun to aggressively challenge international norms” in “ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.”

The military chief cited an increase in cyberattacks and “threats in space,” as well as their investment in advanced weapons such as hypersonic nukes, reports Fox News.

Furthermore, Commander Dickinson pointed out that China is rapidly developing military space capabilities, including anti-satellite missiles, while Russia has already conducted many space missile tests.

Threats like these could jeopardize U.S. communication networks and the West’s “extraordinary reliance” on space for modern technology.