U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has taken another step toward a White House bid, launching a new website that seeks to both spread his message of national defense and raise the cash he needs for travel.

Security Through Strength is the name of the political committee set up so that Graham, R-S.C., can “test the waters” for a potential 2016 run.

“The committee will fund the infrastructure and operations allowing Graham to travel the country, listen to Americans, and gauge support for a potential presidential candidacy,” the site, which went online Thursday, says.

The wording is a play on President Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” mantra that was a cornerstone of his presidency during the Cold War.

Graham has floated a White House bid contending that not enough is being said to bring attention to American defense needs and the on-going war on terror. He is expected to decide at least by May if he will go forward with a full-on campaign.

“Ronald Reagan’s policy of ‘Peace Through Strength’ kept America safe during the Cold War,” Graham said in his announcement. “But we will never enjoy peaceful coexistence with radical Islam because its followers are committed to destroying us and our way of life. However, America can have ‘Security Through Strength,’ and I will continue to lead in that critical fight.”

The committee’s president is David Wilkins, former U.S. ambassador to Canada under President George W. Bush.

Running the Graham effort are political strategist Christian Ferry and long-time Graham advisor Scott Farmer. Among Ferry’s previous campaign work is deputy campaign manager for the McCain-Palin 2008 White House effort. Farmer has worked on all three Graham U.S. Senate campaigns.

Security Through Strength is a 527 political committee registered with the Internal Revenue Service and South Carolina Secretary of State.

Graham cannot use money from his Senate election war chest to fund the presidential effort. It was not immediately disclosed what sort of budget Graham is shooting for.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551