The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff responded to mounting concerns that China poses a serious threat to U.S. security, while also arguing NATO is "stronger than it's ever been."
"The first thing I'd tell them is they ought to be very proud of their military, if we're ready for whatever comes our way," Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. told Fox News' Shannon Bream on "Fox News Sunday" at the Ragan National Defense Forum.
"At the same time, we want to be so ready that we don't have a conflict," Brown added. "And you know, as we're here, it says ‘peace through strength.' Our strength that we demonstrate as a military will bring that peace."
Brown was responding to a Ronald Reagan Institute poll that found 51% of Americans see China as the nation posing the greatest threat to the U.S., up from the 43% of Americans who reported the same at this time last year.
The poll also found a majority of Americans believe that over the next 10 years, China will outpace the U.S. both from a military standpoint and economically. Brown explained that he is focused on "accelerating change" in order to keep up.
"Well, my real role here and job is to actually make sure that… on the military side that doesn't occur, which is why I'm so focused on accelerating change," he said.
"It's why I'm focused on the collaboration we do, particularly having gotten out here the past couple years, not only here to Reagan, but also out to Silicon Valley, and looking at how we work together on our national defense and how that helps us economically," he went on.
As war continues to rage between Russia and Ukraine – as well as between Hamas and Israel – concern has mounted among Americans that a conflict could spill over into a NATO nation as opposed to the U.S. getting directly involved in war. Brown quelled such fears, arguing that NATO "is stronger than it's ever been."
"What I see right now is, if you think about what [Russian President Vladimir Putin] attempted to do from the very start, and the territory he gained and the territory he lost in Ukraine, things have not gone according to his plan," Brown said. "One of the key reasons that I think that because of what happened in Ukraine, NATO is stronger than it's ever been. In fact, it's larger now with Finland and Sweden… and because of that strength in the dialogue with many of our NATO partners, we're all committed to ensure this does not expand into NATO and go broader."
As the U.S. continues supporting nations such as Israel and Ukraine in their respective wars, Brown said the U.S. has protocols in place to maintain military stockpiles. The poll found that 63% of Americans reported they are worried that supporting foreign wars is depleting U.S. military assets.
"We go through our own analysis – we have what we require in order to execute our operational plans," he said. "And we go through the level of analysis as we make decisions of the security system we provide for both nations.
"It goes back into our defense industrial base, to build out capability – not only for our allies and partners – but also for us," he added. "And that to me is important because it helps us continue down the path of modernization and to bring in capability."