In 2012 expect to see a lot more bite from Veterans for a Strong America, the group that bashed President Obama for politicizing the anniversary of the Osama bin Laden raid. [Photo gallery: One Year After Osama bin Laden's Death.]
"We'll be making sure we have a robust discussion about the nation's security," says Joel Arends, the Chairman of Veterans for a Strong America. "What you are going to see is what we highlighted in our most recent ad."
The group is gaining momentum across the country with more than 10,000 followers, some of whom are Navy SEALs reportedly frustrated with Obama's handling of the bin Laden raid anniversary.
The nonprofit's supporters plan to lobby against mandatory Pentagon budget cuts as well as what they believe are Obama's national security shortcomings. [Video: Osama Bin Laden Death Anniversary Prompts Terror Warnings.]
Veterans for a Strong America has a list of grievances against the president, but Arends says most recently he was floored by Obama's public announcement regarding the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
"He tells the Taliban exactly how long they have to wait it out," says Arends, an Army infantry officer who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. "We are very concerned with negotiating with the Taliban. They're an enemy that has sworn the destruction of the United States of America."
The president's lack of interaction with the military is another complaint Veterans for a Strong America intends to voice.
"Well look," Arends says. "I think this administration has had a tenuous relationship with the military. Certainly this president does not appear with the military as much as his predecessor."
Arends argues White House programs like Joining Forces don't make up for the president's absence.
"At the end of the day, White House photo ops are not going to solve national security issues nor will they effectively deal with the issues veterans are dealing with when they come back home," he says.
Arends, a veteran and former campaign operative for George W. Bush and John McCain, earned a reputation as a soldier spokesman in 2006 as an executive director for Vets for Freedom, a PAC that lobbied for the surge in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
During the 2008 presidential race, the group controlled a multi-million dollar ad campaign that called into question Obama's commitment to the troops. The group also supported both GOP and Democratic veterans running for Congress.
Arends says his nonprofit isn't planning to endorse anyone, but admits presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has solid footing when it comes to foreign policy.
"We are encouraged by the policy stances he has made in wanting to see defense spending rise," Arends says. "We are also enthused by Romney's wanting to adopt Paul Ryan's budget, which would do away with sequestration."