Thursday's Republican presidential primary debate was heavy on rhetoric but light on specifics regarding national security issues.

That's no surprise, given the 60-second time limit on the 10 candidates at the prime-time event. Still, several managed to keep military topics in the mix, squeezing in items of interest to troops, veterans and their families.

Some highlights of those issues:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, on his plans to build up the armed forces:

"The first thing we need to do to make America stronger is to strengthen our military, and I put out a really specific plan: no less than 500,000 active-duty soldiers in the Army. No less than 185,000 active-duty Marines in the Marine Corps. Bring us to a 350-ship Navy again, and modernize the Ohio class of submarines, and bring our Air Force back to 2,600 aircraft that are ready to go.

"Those are the kind of things that are going to send a clear message around the world. Those are the things that we need to start working on immediately to make our country stronger and make it better."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, blasting Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey:

"When I asked General Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, what would be required militarily to destroy ISIS, he said there is no military solution ... (and that) we need to change the conditions on the ground so that young men are not in poverty and susceptible to radicalization.

"That, with all due respect, is nonsense. It's the same answer the State Department gave, that we need to give them jobs. What we need is a commander in chief that makes ... clear, if you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant."

Dr. Ben Carson, on rebuilding the military:

"We have weakened ourselves militarily to such an extent that it affects all of our military policies. Our Navy is at its smallest size since 1917; our Air Force, since 1940. In recent testimony, the commandant of the Marine Corps said half of the nondeployed units were not ready and ... the sequester is cutting the heart out of our personnel. Our generals are retiring because they don't want to be part of this, and at the same time, our enemies are increasing.

"You know, we turned our back on Israel, our ally. ... In a situation like that, of course Obama's not going to be able to do anything. I would shore up our military first, because if you don't get the military right, nothing else is going to work."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, on transgender troops:

"The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. It's not to transform the culture by trying out some ideas that some people think would make us a different country and more diverse. The purpose is to protect America.

"I'm not sure how paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines makes our country safer. We've reduced the military by 25 percent under President Obama. The disaster is that we've forgotten why we have a military.

"We've decimated our military. We're flying B-52s. The most recent one that was put in service was November of 1962. A lot of the B-52s we're flying, we've only got 44 that are in service, combat-ready, and the fact is, most of them are older than me. And that's pretty scary."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, offering the lone mention of veterans in the debate:

"Unfortunately, today we have a VA that does not do enough for (veterans). I am proud that last year we helped change the law ... to give the power to the VA secretary ... to fire any executive that isn't doing their job.

"It is outrageous they've only fired one person to date. When I'm president of the United States, we're going to have a VA that cares more about our veterans than about the bureaucrats who work at the VA."