WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Ted Cruz, looking to take a hard line in South Carolina to win the support of military voters, lashed out Tuesday at what he called a culture of political correctness in the Pentagon.

"That's why the last thing any commander should need to worry about is the grades he is getting from some plush-bottomed Pentagon bureaucrat for political correctness or social experiments -- or providing gluten-free MREs," Cruz said, using the shorthand term for Meal, Ready-to-Eat.

In a speech aboard the USS Yorktown, which is stationed in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Cruz laid out a Reagan-style military policy that he promised would return America to a global position of strength in a speech.

"I am confident that if we put in the hard work we can, as Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s, rebuild our military so it will be so feared by our enemies and trusted by our allies that, God willing, we won't have to use it," Cruz said. "That is the essence of what President Reagan used to call 'peace through strength.'"

Veterans and members of the military make up a critical voting bloc in the South Carolina Republican primary, which is just four days away.