Addressing the Marine Corps rotational force in Norway on his annual Christmas tour, Gen. Robert Neller spoke to the 300-member unit of its peacetime mission, but with the caveat that war might be in the near future.
Neller emphasized to the Marines that they should remain ready to fight at all times, predicting a "big-ass fight" on the horizon.
"I hope I'm wrong, but there's a war coming," Neller said. " ... You're in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence."
Neller said he expects the Pacific and Russia to become the new point of U.S. military focus.
"Just remember why you're here," he said. "They're watching. Just like you watch them, they watch you. We've got 300 Marines up here; we could go from 300 to 3,000 overnight. We could raise the bar."