SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Sept. 17 (UPI) — Businesswoman turned presidential candidate Carly Fiorina called for “rebuilding” the United States 6th Fleet to check Russian aggression during CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate on Wednesday.
Fiorina issued the call as a response to a question by debate moderators on how each candidate would deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin in light of the country becoming more active in the Syrian conflict.
The U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet operates warships in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and is already a growing command. While it wasn’t clear whether this was a literal request for sending more ships to the in the Mediterranean, Fiorina added additional measures would include rebuilding the missile defense system in Poland, stationing more troops in Germany, and conducting “regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states.
Moderators pointed out that Fiorina had met President Putin before during her business ventures. She responded by saying she would not meet him again, and instead bolster defenses around the region as president.
“Russia is a bad actor,” Fiorina said on the debate stage, “but Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to, because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side.”
Navy officials have stated the demand for warships is high, and sending too many to one particular theater would limit how many ships can be sent to another.
The 6th Fleet was established in 1950 as geopolitical conflicts in the Cold War escalated to new levels, and has been used as a deterrent force in confrontations with the Soviet Union. More recently, it was used to launch airstrikes during the Libyan Civil War in 2011.
Currently, the 6th Fleet is helping to build land-based missile interceptor sites in Romania and Poland. The fleet is led by Navy Vice Admiral Phillip S. Davidson.