Navy Admiral Charles A. Richard, the commander of the United States Strategic Command (Stratcom), has warned that the war in Ukraine isn't the largest conflict that the U.S. will see right now—it must be prepared for a global conflict involving China.

"This Ukraine crisis that we're in right now, this is just the warmup," Richard said during a speech at the Naval Submarine League 2022 Annual Symposium and Industry Update. "The big one is coming. And it isn't going to be very long before we're going to get tested in ways that we haven't been tested in a long time.

"We have to do some rapid, fundamental change in the way we approach the defense of this nation," he continued. "I will tell you, the current situation is vividly illuminating what nuclear coercion looks like and how you, or how you don't stand up to that.

"As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking. It is sinking slowly, but it is sinking, as fundamentally they are putting capability in the field faster than we are," Richard said. "As those curves keep going, it isn't going to matter how good our [operating plan] is or how good our commanders are, or how good our horses are—we're not going to have enough of them. And that is a very near-term problem."

Above, Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a press event with members of the new Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, and Chinese and foreign journalists on October 23, 2022, in Beijing. The U.S. should prepare for a soon-coming global conflict involving China according to the commander of the the United States Strategic Command.Getty

Richard also said that the U.S. needs to look to its military development past to see how it could increase its domination in the international military sphere.

"We used to know how to move fast, and we have lost the art of that. We have got to get back into the business of not talking about how we are going to mitigate our assumed eventual failure[s]," he said.

"[We need to] flip it to the way we used to ask questions in this nation, which is what's it going to take? Is it money? Is it people? Do you need authorities? What risk? That's how we got to the Moon by 1969. We need to bring some of that back. Otherwise, China is simply going to out-compete us, and Russia isn't going anywhere anytime soon."

Despite Richard's concerns, China's president Xi Jinping has recently called for a better relationship between the U.S. and China.

In his first public message to U.S. President Joe Biden since he extended his rule over the Communist Party, Xi indicated the two countries should return to a "sound and steady relationship."

"The world today is neither tranquil nor stable. China and the United States are two major countries. Closer communication and cooperation between us will help bring greater stability and certainty to the world, and promote world peace and development," Xi told the National Committee on United States–China Relations (NCUSCR).

"China stands ready to work with the United States to find the right way to get along with each other in the new era on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. This will benefit not only our two countries but also the whole world," the letter said.