A group formed this year by executives and lobbyists for the defense contracting industry is taking credit for “driving the national debate on foreign policy during the 2016 presidential election,” and in particular for getting Republican presidential candidates to call for escalating military action in Syria.
In an email to supporters over the weekend, Mike Rogers, the founder of Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, hailed the group for “pushing candidates on national security.”
He illustrated the group’s impact with “highlights from many of our Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire forums showcasing the candidates’ views on defeating ISIS.”
From Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at an APPS forum in Charleston: “I am sick and tired of hearing people on my side avoid the idea of an American ground component.”
Mike Huckabee told an APPS forum in Greenville: “We should have been running hundreds, if not thousands, of A-10 Warthogs busting every time a truck with supplies was on its way to ISIS soldiers.”
The email also highlighted a quote from Jeb Bush at an APPS forum calling for the U.S. to be prepared for a “long haul” war on ISIS, and a similar comment from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who said the U.S. should engage ISIS as it had against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
As we’ve previously reported, APPS was formed by current and former officials from Raytheon, BAE Systems, SAIC, and other major defense contractors. Lobbyists who represent the defense industry are also involved. Rogers, the former House Intelligence Committee chairman who retired from Congress last year, also represents private clients, though he has refused to disclose them.
To “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy,” the group spends money on public events in primary states and encourages presidential candidates to take hawkish positions.
Top photo: A display of guided missile mock-ups by the Raytheon Company.