Our military and intelligence force must be the world’s finest. We need a robust missile defense shield, built here in Washington. We must be confidently pro-America and pro-liberty, enforce our borders, and take care of those who serve. We must treat friends like Israel with respect while being firm with enemies. Military force should only be used when our vital interests are at stake.
Peace through Strength
Peace through strength is the foundation of any viable national defense policy.
Peace can only endure if we are perpetually committed to being strong, courageous, and good. Our military, fiscal, economic, educational, food, energy, diplomatic and social policies must recognize this. There is no shortcut and no forgiveness if we fail to embrace this reality.
Strength, in turn, is the result of resolve. It is the resolve to always be prepared to defend America, its people, and its interests. It is the resolve to always have the finest, most capable military force in the world. And it is the resolve to elect leaders who understand this and will take the duty of defending America seriously. Indeed, providing for the common defense is one of the enumerated powers given to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.
America must always be strong and free.
A Strategic Shift
We must shift our military strategy away from the World War II and Cold War paradigm which primarily emphasized the ability to fight large ground wars with large numbers of troops and to possess overwhelming nuclear capability. While we must maintain the ability to successfully fight ground wars and we must maintain a modern nuclear arsenal, the emerging need is to be able to defend ourselves against terrorism. Fighting terrorism in a holistic sense requires coordination of economic, diplomatic, law enforcement, and military strategies. From a military perspective, we need to expand our Special Forces, which at this time are stretched thin. In addition to Special Forces, training throughout the military should focus on counterterrorism. Intelligence capabilities must also be expanded and increasingly must involve the military itself, not just the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Citizen Soldier
The backbone of national defense is the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces. It was the citizen soldier who won America's independence from England, and it is the citizen soldier of today who believes in America and is willing to risk life and limb to protect us. For this reason, we must ensure that military service is always considered a noble calling in America. This requires taking the best possible care of military personnel and their families, including providing them with excellent compensation and benefits, medical care, and the support services necessary to help our troops and their families cope with the challenges of military life. This also includes supporting them in their transition back to civilian life. Critically, it requires supporting them in combat situations by making sure that they have the best training and equipment possible. It also includes protecting the right of our military personnel to vote, even when they are in the field. Most importantly, it requires a Commander in Chief and a Congress which are decisive and never send American military personnel into harm's way without just cause, clear objectives, all necessary support, and a strategy and a will to win.
Maintenance of sufficient numbers of active duty and reserve personnel is essential.
Command of American Forces
United States military forces should always be under the command of American officers, the highest ranking officer being the Commander in Chief, our President. Our forces should never be under the command or control of foreign powers, including the United Nations. When participating in joint operations with foreign powers, our forces should remain completely under American command.
America needs to maintain military bases at home and abroad. This is necessary for training and for protecting our vital interests. Our worldwide bases enhance our ability to respond rapidly and forcefully, and they play a major role in deterring hostile activity against the United States, its allies, and its interests. While it may be possible to close certain bases that are not vital to our security in order to reduce cost, the wholesale closure of our bases worldwide would result in a weaker America.
It is time to update or weapon systems. Some of our equipment is old and will need to be replaced. Importantly, we need to deploy a new generation of weapons and defense systems that multiplies our available forces by leveraging our technological advantages. For example, robotic systems in the air, land, and sea could not only multiply our force but could reduce death and injury to personnel by allowing machines to take on high-risk activities instead of human beings. Improved protection in body armor, vehicles, and quarters for personnel could also reduce casualties. We must also be on the leading edge of cyber warfare and defense.
Many of our aircraft and ships are old enough that they need to be replaced with new, more reliable, more capable versions. This is necessary for our defense and the safety of our personnel. Replacement of old equipment is an ongoing process, but we have fallen behind. Catching up is a very high priority for Congress.
With countries such as North Korea having missiles with nuclear warheads and countries like Iran trying to obtain them, it is more necessary than ever to establish a missile defense shield which is global, redundant, and robust. For national security reasons, the production of these systems, along with defense systems in general, should be done primarily in the United States of America. In fact, Boeing and other Washington State companies could play a strategic role in this, bringing long-term, well-paying jobs to Washington State while making us safer.
Vigorous research and development of our weapon systems is crucial for the United States to maintain its edge. Protection of our intellectual property and technological advantages is a very high priority. America must stop giving away intellectual and technological advantages and defend itself against those who seek to steal them.
Defense of the Homeland
America needs to secure its borders, coasts, airspace, and all ports of entry, and we need dedicated forces to do this. This is critical to protect us from potential terrorist operations. It is also necessary to protect us from crime, including drug and human trafficking, as well as to protect us in the event of significant disease outbreaks where quarantine measures might be required. Of course, this will also help us to enforce our trade and immigration policies. Congress seems to have overlooked the Constitution on this point; Article 4, Section 4 says “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion…” Tens of millions of people entering and/or staying illegally in our country is certainly an invasion; note that the Constitution did not specify armed invasion, but used the much broader, unqualified term “invasion.” Unfortunately, some of those here illegally are members of armed, violent, criminal organizations. Chronic failure to have vigorously supported securing our borders, coasts, airspace, and all points of entry has weakened America. Those members of Congress who have supported this detrimental policy, including my opponent, Maria Cantwell, need to be replaced. By contrast, I will take the Constitution and your safety seriously.
Dealing effectively with terrorism should continue to be a major priority of our national security policy. The first line of defense is proper economic and diplomatic relationships with other nations. However, defending ourselves against terrorism must include increasing our intelligence gathering and processing capacity, not only abroad, but at home. Strengthening the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as expansion of the counterterrorism capacity of the military, National Guard, and civilian law enforcement is necessary. Increased security at borders, seaports, airports, and targets of "high value" is also needed. Institution of an expanded air marshal program and public education to help citizens identify terrorist activity would be useful, and law-abiding citizens should not be discouraged from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The more we restrict our citizens from carrying weapons in public, the easier it becomes for terrorists to target civilians.
We will need to work more closely with other nations to isolate and disrupt terrorist organizations, and this will include locating and seizing assets owned by terrorists and cutting off their income streams. We must have the political courage to stand up to governments, drug cartels, and banking systems that support or permit terrorist operations.
We should be much better prepared for natural disasters and disease outbreaks. Of concern, many of our hospitals are running at near peak capacity almost all of the time. This is the case in the Puget Sound area. If we had a natural disaster resulting in a large number of casualties, like a major earthquake, our hospital system would be challenged to rapidly expand capacity. The Federal Government should be working closely with state governments in order to prepare for such contingencies.
An important principle that must be honored is that in the event of disasters we must allow local authorities the fullest possible control and management, guarding against the possibility that the Federal Government would use a disaster as a pretense to usurp local and state authority in a more general sense. The proper role of the Federal Government in disaster is to be helpful, not to usurp political power.
More generally, while securing our homeland and national defense, we must never forget that the primary duty of government is to secure our rights. We must guard against the possibility of well-intentioned but misguided federal policy or law being implemented that would result in the inappropriate compromise of individual or state rights. We need principled, thoughtful leaders who can properly balance the need to protect our national security with the need to protect our rights.
Declaration of War
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives the Congress the power to declare war. This power is not shared with the President, who is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Therefore, the United States should not engage in war unless the Congress has made a declaration of war. This is important in order to prevent the President from acting unilaterally to engage our armed forces in war. It is also important because fighting a war is very expensive, and it is the Congress that provides the funding necessary to pay for a war and to ensure that our personnel are adequately supplied and armed.
The Congress must always formulate clear objectives for any war it declares. This responsibility does not belong to the President; it resides entirely with the Congress and is, by implication, an intrinsic responsibility of declaring war. Certainly, as Commander in Chief, the President has the primary responsibility of prosecuting a war, but this role should never be confused with defining the objectives of the war. It is the duty of the Congress to define the objectives, communicate them to the President, and be sure that the President is adhering to the objectives. Finally, it is the duty of the Congress to decide when and how to end wars. This responsibility is implied by the Constitution by virtue of the fact that it vests the power to declare war exclusively with the Congress. Obviously, the power to end war is intrinsically part of the power to declare war.
Civilian American Citizens Charged With Rebellion or Treason
Generally speaking, civilian American citizens charged with rebellion or treason should be entitled to all of the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution, including due process of law covered by the Fifth Amendment. Accordingly, these cases should be tried in the Federal Court System. Importantly, civilian American citizens must not be subject to indefinite detention. In order to detain them, formal charges must be filed in a timely manner and the detainee has a right to a speedy trial by a jury along with all other aspects of due process.
Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states that “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” Clearly, in times of extreme threat to our republic, suspending the “privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus” and detaining American citizens might be necessary to preserve the United States of America. However, note that Article I defines the Legislative Branch of the United States Government, and therefore it is implicit that only Congress has the constitutional authority to suspend the right to habeas corpus (i.e. to suspend due process and indefinitely detain or imprison a suspect). Under the Constitution, no other branch of government should have this authority, including the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch. For this reason, ambiguous federal legislation must be revised so as to clarify this point (this has particular application to the Authorization for Use of Military Force and the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012). Allowing the President the power to suspend the right to habeus corpus is a grave risk to the freedom of all American citizens. It would effectively allow for the possibility of the President sequestering all political opposition should he ever decide to take over the country. The Founders were correct in bestowing this power exclusively to the Congress, composed of numerous elected members from all of the States, as a means of minimizing the potential for abuse.
American citizens serving in the armed forces who are accused of treason or rebellion in the course of their military service should be tried by military tribunals. These tribunals should protect the constitutional rights of military personnel. To prevent abuse of power, our military system of justice should be subject to review and oversight by the Congress, and as per the Constitution, the President does have the authority to pardon crimes against the United States. It is clearly in the best interest of America that we have a military system of justice that is swift, effective, and ultimately, just.
Foreign Enemy Combatants
Foreign enemy combatants captured by the United States of America should not have the rights guaranteed by our Constitution to our citizens. Therefore, they do not in general have a right to access civilian courts under the jurisdiction of the United States, nor do they necessarily have the specific rights available to defendants that are tried in our civilian courts. Appropriately, they can be tried in military courts. However, they must be treated justly, and inhumane treatment or torture should never be employed. Congress must oversee this and ensure swift, effective, and just trials of detainees. Prisoners of state-sponsored war should be released at the cessation of hostilities, or sooner if they pose no threat. Convicted terrorists should serve appropriate sentences, and punishments could include interrogation, fines, seizure of property, imprisonment, and capital punishment.
The price of freedom will always be high, both in terms of financial cost and human cost. Appropriately, our federal budget should always ensure that national defense is adequately funded. In fact, since providing for the common defense is an enumerated power of the United States Government, defense funding should be one of the highest priorities of federal spending. However, it is the responsibility of Congress and the President to make sure that defense dollars are wisely spent. The first and most important aspect of this is making sure that we are always in pursuit of a defense strategy and foreign policy that best suit our need as a free nation. By so doing, money is only spent for what we need most. Paying too much for a wrench is wasteful; paying too much for a wrench used to build an item we don’t need is vastly more wasteful. In a time where cutting government spending is paramount, every part of the budget should be carefully reviewed with the goal of reprioritizing and doing more with less. Defense spending is no exception.
Congress must ensure that defense contractors are held to strict standards that put the American people first. The prerequisite for this to happen is that We the People must ensure that Congress itself is held to strict standards.