Robert C. O’Brien, a senior advisor to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, says that cuts to the U.S. military has sent the wrong message to our allies and foes.
The message says to “our allies that they can’t trust us and to our foes that they should not fear or respect us,” the Republican presidential candidate’s foreign policy advisor told The Daily Caller in an exclusive interview.
O’Brien also delved into ISIS and the philosophy behind Walker’s willingness to strategically use military force to strengthen and defend the nation.
O’Brien described Saudi Arabia as “an ally” and a “bulwark against expansionist Iran.” He insisted that the U.S. has to make sure the Saudis are “fully committed to rooting out al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and extremist groups in Saudi Arabia.” Furthermore, “we need to work with the Gulf Arabs, with the Jordanians, with the Israelis, with the Egyptians.”
O’Brien also maintained the importance of putting “more efforts into assisting the Kurds in both Syria and Iraq.”
When asked about a strategy to defeat ISIS, O’Brien argued that the “political restrictions” need to be removed so that our soldiers are able to “do what is necessary to defeat ISIS.” While he didn’t provide an exact number of ground troops that would be needed, O’Brien argued that more Special Forces, Delta Force, Navy SEALS, and Air Force combat controllers are needed to conduct effective air strikes.
According to O’Brien, the Obama administration likes to “talk about how many sorties we’ve flown. But a lot of the sorties have been landing with their bombs still in the bomb bays or still on the pylons.” O’Brien insisted that counting the number of aircraft sorties is a “ridiculous metric for the Administration to keep trotting out.”
O’Brien continued: “There is no reason why we can’t roll back ISIS with a small number but with a heavy use of air power. The same way that we did with the Taliban in Afghanistan. But to do that we’ve got to take off these political restrictions.”
Other tools O’Brien suggested using against ISIS include A-10s and AC-130 Spectre Gunships to decimate ISIS when thousands of fighters gather, fighters who are using stolen American Humvees and armored personnel carriers.
O’Brien emphasized that Walker is “committed to defeating ISIS,” and to do so we have to use “every tool in our tool kit… The answer isn’t always more ground troops.” O’Brien recommended the use of psychological and political warfare as well.
However, in order to have the military strength to defeat ISIS and regain respect around the world, O’Brien was clear: “We have to rebuild our military capacity.”
He specifically mentioned the Ohio Class submarine replacement program, insisting it is a “national strategic priority… not strictly a Navy program.”
Regarding America’s nuclear missile subs, O’Brien indicated they are crucial because of “their survivability in the event of a first strike…” “they give us a second strike capability.” Furthermore, they act as a deterrent against a “future aggressive Chinese leader or a future aggressive Russian leader.” The aging Ohio Class submarine program must be replaced, O’Brien argued, but you can’t “drain the entire Navy ship-building budget” to do so.
O’Brien also explained that a Walker administration would rebuild the US military because “if you rebuild your military capability, you send a message to your foes, and it’s less likely that you are going to have to deploy military forces because the deterrent effect of a strong America is enormous.”
As to when to deploy forces, O’Brien insisted that “American national interests must be involved. So whether in defense of the allies because of a treaty obligation or [in defense of] an area that is important to American national interests, [Americans] need to be involved. Then when we are going to fight, we are going to fight to win.”
Under a Walker administration, said O’Brien, “We are not going to do the pinprick strike on the aspirin factory to send a message. We are going to take care of business.”