The U.S. Navy’s top surface warfare officer has issued a call to action — or a warning — to his crews: They need to develop a “sense of urgency” regarding the Russian and Chinese navies.

In an address to the Surface Navy Association in Washington, D.C., this week, Vice Adm. Richard Brown said that U.S. warship crews, for the first time since the Cold War, must make ready for aggressive actions by adversaries with peer or near-peer capabilities at sea, such as when a Chinese navy destroy came within yards of ‘scraping paint’ off a U.S. destroyer last fall in the South China Sea.

Also, for the first time since World War II, junior officers and enlisted personnel may have to step in for senior leaders if they are cut off our killed outright during a surprise attack using sophisticated new weapons, Breaking Defense reported.

Brown painted a much different threat picture than what has existed for much of the past 25 years, when American naval commanders had little to worry about in terms of facing a real threat at sea.

The resurgence of Russia and China’s rise has changed that dynamic, however. Brown noted the next major war could well resemble what the U.S. faced in the South Pacific when battling Japan — a military with great skill and zeal that often overcame superior American technologies.

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