Pence: 'Dramatically increase' defense spending

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said on Friday that America will not be safe unless its leaders dramatically increase defense spending.

The Republican state executive, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, told conservatives that the next race for the White House would likely center on foreign policy for the first time in more than three decades.

"With everything happening in the world, it is imperative, my fellow conservatives, that conservatives again embrace America's role as leader of the free world and the arsenal of democracy," Pence said at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where a dozen Republican White House prospects appeared in suburban Washington this week.

Pence was among several Republicans who promised to pursue aggressive military action to prevent the spread of global terrorism. Some endorsed the use of ground forces in the Middle East, but Pence did not address ground troops in his remarks, focusing instead on the Obama administration's military spending.

In his budget for 2016, President Barack Obama has called for increasing defense spending 4.4 percent to $585 billion. That's 16 percent of his proposed $4 trillion federal budget.

"I believe the time has come to dramatically increase defense spending to confront the knowable and unknowable threats facing the United States and our allies in this still-new century," Pence said. "Without rebuilding our military, no strategy or innovation, no matter how brilliant, will be sufficient to protect the people and sovereignty of the United States."

Specifically, Pence called on federal officials to "revive the future combat systems of the Army and Marine Corps," resume production of the F-22 aircraft, and rebuild the Navy.