SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs warned on Wednesday that Russia and China were going against what he called the “global operating system” of order, rules, and alliances.

“This system is under attack,” Adm. James Winnefeld (Ret.) told attendees of the AFCEA West 2017 conference. “They’ve thrown away the rules, and we’re not ready for it.”

In his keynote address, Winnefeld outlined the current security environment for the United States, which included mentions of Russian interference in elections, China’s moves in the South China Sea, and Iran’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions, among other items, which he called “ongoing disruption in our national security landscape.”

“Historical change can be difficult to see when you’re actually living through it, but that kind of disruption may be what we’re seeing today,” he said. “If we are going to restore the strategic balance, to maintain the edge, we have to work much harder.”


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