Rubio defends nuclear weapons build up

Olivia Zink on February 03, 2016
In response to a question about the proposed nuclear weapons build up an Eisenhower's military-industrial-complex warning, Marco Rubio said times are different than in Eisenhower's day, when he thinks the Soviet Union had a strategic nuclear advantage of the USA. Now, he said, we are in danger of falling behind the Russians and Chinese and need to build more weapons, including nuclear weapons. He said there is a need for more competition among weapons suppliers to the Pentagon and other procurement reforms.

"You’ve said you want to increase military spending," Betsy told Senator Marco Rubio.  "But in the middle of the 20th century, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about the dangers of a growing military industrial complex," she continued. 

"There is currently a proposal to spend a trillion dollars to expand and modernize the US nuclear arsenal.  As president," Betsy asked, "what would you do to make sure the military industrial complex does not have undue influence over our foreign policy and our domestic priorities?"

"Well, right now we don’t have enough defense contractor competition," Rubio responded.  "Right now when you put a defense project up to bid, you just don’t have enough companies bidding on them.  So we’re not getting enough of a better price.  We need to open up defense contracting to more competition."

"The second thing is we have to improve our procurement process.  We’re actually not spending a lot of money on new weapons systems right now, we’re just not. Most of our money in the Defense Department is being spent on expanding the civilian workforce.  A lot of it is being spent.  That needs to stop.   And by the way, the military buys its computers, its copiers, its paper, everything, is not the way a business would do.   All of that needs to be reformed," he said.

"But let me just say that President Eisenhower lived in a different world than we live in.  Most certainly he lived in a world where the threat of the Soviet Union was a very serious one," Rubioo continued.  "And by the way we had to build up our military to confront that threat.  Because the Soviet Union at one time had a strategic advantage over the United States in nuclear weapons and actually made the world more dangerous."

"If a nation thinks they can win a nuclear exchange, you are tempting them to try winning.  The reason why we never had a nuclear war is because both countries know they would both die if they did and neither one of them wanted to die."

Rubio went on, "Number two, we have to modernize our nuclear weapons because China’s doing it and Russia’s doing it.  We have to make sure ours works.  So that we hope to never have to use them.  The way to guarantee you never have a nuclear war with a major power is to insure that both sides know that neither one of them can win one.  So we have to assure that that remains in place.

"But number three, we’ve never faced the kind of threats we face now.  We’ve faced the threats of traditional nation-states like China, that in many instances is now out-innovating us, primarily because they steal our secrets and then build on that.  But they’re out innovating us when it comes to certain weapons systems.  The Chinese today can destroy an aircraft carrier with a shore-fired rocket, and we don’t have an answer for that.  We have to develop an answer.  They’ve practiced blowing up our satellites.  If our satellites get blown up none of our stuff works, none of our technology works.

"The Russians, despite having a terrible economy, are increasing their defense spending.   So we face traditional nation state threats.

"Then we face rogue states like North Korea.  The leader of North Korea is crazy, he’s a nut, but he has a nuclear warheads and a missile that can reach the United States.  We need a missile defense shield.  Iran may have one too.  So we’re in the age of proliferation.

"And then you have these radical terrorists groups who pose a real threat to America. We’ve never faced a threat like this.  People using the refugee crisis and the immigration system to infiltrate killers into other countries.  Using the internet to radicalize Americans like they did in San Bernardino, where an American citizen born and raised in this country killed 14 people and was on his way to killing more.

"We face some real significant threats.  And I told you, our current level of spending leaves us with the smallest army since the end of World War II, the smallest navy in a hundred years, and the smallest air force and the oldest airplanes we have had in our history.  We cannot face our global threats with that … [inaudible] …that we have today.

"So we’ll fix procurement, no doubt about it," he said, wrappinng up.  "Because every dollar that’s wasted in the Defense Department is a dollar that’s not defending you.  But we are going to rebuild the U.S. military when I am President."

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