Collaboration across agencies and with allies is critical to the Defense Department’s success as the national security landscape becomes increasingly complex, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., said today.

Speaking at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Global Impact Forum in Washington, Brown said that throughout his nearly four decades in uniform he has seen the vital role collaboration plays in solving complex diplomatic, information and economic challenges that often accompany military challenges.  

“I’ve spent a lot of time with our allies and partners,” he said. “I’m a big believer in collaboration. I know that we cannot do all we do as a military by ourselves, and the value of our partnerships with the interagency, the value of [partnerships] with our allies are really so important.” 

Key to maintaining strong collaboration is a deliberate approach to building bonds and working together on critical issues, Brown said. 

“It’s all about relationships,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’ve actually gone through the steps, worked together, built those relationships.” 

He added that he values the varied perspectives that come from across agencies and from allies and partners.

“There will be some areas that we probably see a little bit different, which is okay,” he said. “That friction actually helps us to identify areas of risk and things that we need to be focused on to be able to move forward and help us look at things with our eyes a little wider open because of the dialogue that we have.” 

Those relationships are especially critical today, Brown said, as the global security landscape becomes increasingly complex and interconnected.  

He noted that the 2022 National Defense Strategy identifies key challenges posed by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and violent extremists. 

“All five of them are active at the moment and, in some respects, working together,” Brown said. “You see that particularly when you look at what’s happening in Ukraine. Russia has invaded, unprovoked, into a neighboring country. There is some support from the People’s Republic of China. Iran is providing capabilities, as well as North Korea.” 

Meanwhile, he said, violent extremist organizations continue to operate around the globe.  

“When you think about that, it does make the world more complex,” Brown said. “But what I will also tell you is the dialogue among our allies and partners has increased.” 

He said collaboration among NATO allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region, especially, has grown considerably in recent years. He added that the United States’ leadership is critical in maintaining these ties.  

“When I talk to our allies and partners, they often want to know what we’re going to do,” Brown said. “And they will step up, as well, but we’ve got to make sure that we kind of set the path and the vector of where we see things going, but [we] also listen to them, as well. 

“They’re stepping up, and they are very interested in addressing the security challenges that we often talk about,” he said.  

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