The military has officially entered the 2016 presidential race.
In making his presidential bid official Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham promised to put “a strong national defense” and service member concerns at the center of his campaign.
And despite his status as a long shot to win the post, the South Carolina Republican’s drumbeat will force the entire field of hopefuls to sharpen their focus on those issues.
“I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate — that includes you, Hillary,” the South Carolina Republican told a cheering crowd of constituents at his campaign announcement. “I have listened, learned and prepared myself for the job of commander in chief.”
Graham, the 11th major party candidate to formally enter the race, is the first with a military background. He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a colonel in May, ending a 33-year career that included stints as a military lawyer in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The best of us are the 1 percent of Americans who are the men and women of the United States armed forces,” Graham said.