Eric Gay, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is photographed by attendees as he addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars 112th National Conference, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, in San Antonio. Perry was invited to speak on behalf of Texas before he formally entered the presidential race.

SAN ANTONIO — Gov. Rick Perry says U.S. forces heading into combat must be led by American commanders, not multinational organizations.

Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars' annual convention, the Republican presidential hopeful said Monday he wants the U.S. to avoid "military adventurism."

But he also said the U.S. military must be ready to strike whenever necessary and "not concede the moral authority of our nation to multilateral debating societies," drawing sustained applause.

Perry didn't elaborate. But the Obama administration has backed NATO-led airstrikes in Libya.

Perry was invited as governor of the state hosting the VFW convention before entering the presidential race.

Another Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is scheduled to address the convention Tuesday. The nation's oldest major veterans organization, the VFW is meeting in San Antonio through Thursday.