House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Tuesday he will push for a strong military, especially a bigger Navy. Ryan mentioned China’s expansion in the South China and East China seas as a possible threat in which a strong Navy would defend America’s foreign policy interests.
“I’m a defense hawk. I very much believe we need a bigger Navy, big time,” Ryan said in a radio interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” Ryan then praised the budget deal signed Monday by President Barack Obama that was $5 billion short of the money for which the Pentagon asked.
“Like this budget deal or not, it did give us relief on defense. And what matters more for defense than 1 or 2 billion is predictability and certainty over a two-year cycle ,” he said.
Ryan has long been a proponent of a strong Navy. He criticized the Obama administration on the issue when he was campaigning as Mitt Romney’s running mate during the 2012 presidential campaign. At the time, Ryan said spending cuts would mean the weakest fleet since before World War I.
Ryan advocates more aggressive foreign policy positions than the Obama administration tends to favor. He has been a vocal critic of Obama’s troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq and has said he would like to see an increased NATO military presence in Eastern Europe in order to push back against Russian aggression, according to Foreign Policy.