MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says America must rebuild its national defense system. He's proposing adding 100,000 active duty troops to the military and taking better care of the country's veterans.
The former Massachusetts governor spoke Thursday to veterans aboard the World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in the conservative, early primary state of South Carolina.
“We need to rebuild our Navy … and our Air Force is smaller and older than it has been since its inception in 1947,” Romney said, according to Mount Pleasant Patch in South Carolina. “That simply can’t be.”
Romney said he would protect the United States by protecting the nation's military and cut spending at the Defense Department to reduce waste. But he said the nation would be mistaken to follow the example of European nations, which cut their military and then use the savings for social programs.
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The investment is necessary, he said, because the U.S. faces increased threats from emerging countries such as China, India and Russia as well as threats from unstable nations such as Pakistan, which possess nuclear weapons.
His remarks were a preview of a foreign policy address he's to deliver Friday at The Citadel, the state's military college.