By John Celock
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) used a speech Monday to lay out a national security framework including a strengthened military and a tougher stance against Russia.
Speaking in Portsmouth, N.H., the likely Republican presidential candidate went after President Barack Obama’s handling of national security and outlined a vision that includes more resources for the military and intelligence agencies and a harder line against Russia and Iran. Christie has been in the process of gearing up for his likely campaign including outlining his views on foreign policy.
“All these things are happening because American power is in retreat,” Christie said. “No one understands longer what we stand for and what we stand against.”
Christie said that he found that the United States is no longer an “anchor and organizer” of world stability that it was, when he noted the country helped democracies flourish in Africa. He took issue with Obama and Congress over sequestration, saying that he wanted to see more funding placed into the military for the nation’s long-term security.
Among the military issues Christie addressed was bulking up the military branches, including more planes for the Air Force and ships for the Navy, along with keeping the Army and Marines at pre Sept. 11, 2001 levels. He also said he wants to work with the science and engineering sectors on training and research for the military, including new weapons systems and submarines.
Christie also called for the reform of Department of Defense procurement, saying that he is tired of seeing cost overruns in the area.
“We need to adopt real world private sector principles across our procurement system,” he said.
Christie’s procurement rhetoric is similar to comments he’s made in New Jersey over his governorship. In New Jersey, however, his comments have been targeted towards local governments as part of his efforts to reduce property taxes.
Highlighting his tenure as New Jersey’s U.S. attorney, Christie said that he has had first hand experience with the Patriot Act and intelligence. He said he wants to do more to support the nation’s intelligence agencies and took swipes at Obama, congressional Democrats, Hollywood and civil liberties activists for what he said is their work against the intelligence community.
“We should not be listening to people like Edward Snowdon, who is a criminal and hurt our country,” Christie said. “He now enjoys the hospitality of Vladimir Putin.”
Christie said he wants to see tougher anti-terrorism laws and said that he does not see a problem with the surveillance portions of the Patriot Act, saying that it is not to spy on Americans. He took issue with a report released last year by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) regarding the U.S. intelligence community.
“Democrats should be ashamed of themselves,” he said. “It is disgraceful that there are folks on the Hill in both parties who want American intelligence weaker and less informed.”
In terms of Hollywood, Christie accused the entertainment industry of creating films that portray the intelligence community as “the enemy.”
Christie took a hardline stand against Putin and Iran, calling for Iran not to have nuclear weapons and for the U.S. to stand with Israel. He attacked Obama’s Israel policy and said that the president should have a closer relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In terms of Russia, Christie said that he wants to see more done by NATO and called on NATO members to improve their own military, along with the U.S. providing weapons to the Ukraine. He also said that he would implement travel bans and assets freezes against Putin, Putin’s allies and the entire Russian Parliament.
Christie took aim at Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, for what he said is enabling Putin’s aggression.
“Our Europe policy is a scary failure to our allies,” he said.