Carson faced several questions about national security amid doubts that he is unqualified to serve as commander-in-chief given his lack of experience with political or foreign affairs. A reporter asked him whether he would be able to provide forceful resolve if terrorist attacks occur in the United States, given his generally serene demeanor.
"I would say strength is not determined by the number of decibels in your voice. I think that would be very apparent to people very quickly," he said.
If Carson were currently serving as president, "I would be working with our allies using every resource known to man in terms of economic resources, in terms of covert resources, overt resources, military resources, things that they don't know about -- resources," he said. "In an attempt not to contain them but to eliminate them before they eliminate us. We have to recognize that the global Islamic movement is an existential threat -- it's very different than anything we've ever faced before."
Carson also urged Americans to encourage lawmakers to block the Obama administration from allowing more refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East from entering the United States.
"Congress does have a role to play here, and it's not just being the peanut gallery," he said.
"If we're going to be bringing 200,000 people over here from that region -- if I were one of the leaders of the global jihadist movement and I didn't infiltrate that group of people with my people, that would be almost malpractice," he said.
Carson faulted the Obama administration for "not having the kind of vision that would allow you to recognize that once you've gotten a place like Iraq under control you don't withdraw, which leaves an incredible vacuum and allows for the development of things like ISIS."
Carson spoke after addressing hundreds of Republican activists attending the "Sunshine Summit," which also heard Friday from other GOP presidential contenders.