Platform 2014: National Security

National Security         
California Democrats support a strong national defense that includes considerations for all aspects of defense, not just defense provided by the Armed Forces.  We recognize that our national security depends primarily upon a strong economy, a stable federal budget, a stable environment and our perception in the world as a responsible member of the world community.  We are opposed to the notion of world domination and are committed to a foreign policy that holds the use of military force as the last option for national defense, to be used only when available diplomatic and preventive options have been exhausted, in conformity with the United Nations Charter.  In that regard, we recognize that the current level of military and security spending is:

-unsustainable and unnecessary, and is crippling our government's ability to deal with our many serious problems, including unemployment, massive debt and looming catastrophic global warming;

-almost entirely spent for projection of power overseas through over 700 military bases and preparations for foreign wars, rather than for actual defense of the country (approximately $66 billion); and,

-grossly out of proportion with the rest of the world, in which the U.S. spends more than the rest of the world combined.

We will heed President Dwight Eisenhower's admonition that: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.  The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."  In that spirit, we recognize that every $100 billion per year reallocated from the military to civilian employment would support some 4 million jobs at the median wage.

To protect and defend California and our Constitution, Democrats will:

  • Reduce the DOD budget by 25% - 30% - in line with historic drawdowns after major conflicts - primarily by cutting back on that portion of the DOD budget dedicated to bases in foreign countries, projection of military power overseas and development of weapons of mass destruction, and reallocate the savings to other priorities including assistance to state and local governments to maintain and rehire laid off employees, building out the renewable power grid and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, investing in technology and manufacturing jobs in the U.S., and deficit reduction;
  • Consolidate all aspects of the national defense budget, now spread among Defense, State, Energy, Homeland Security and other cabinet departments, into a single, consolidated budget item, so that redundancies and unnecessary weapons systems and overseas deployments can be eliminated while ensuring that no legitimate aspect of total national defense is underserved;
  • Rebalance our national security portfolio in the context of a consolidated defense budget to place more emphasis on nonmilitary security tools such as diplomacy and foreign aid;
  • Reduce the defense development and procurement programs to those items deemed essential for defense against real and not imagined threats to our homeland and national security interests;
  • Ensure that military spending prioritizes defense of the homeland and not the siting of numerous military bases on foreign soil as a substitute for robust diplomatic engagement;
  • Increase the security of ports by greatly increasing the inspection routine at all airports and seaports, further limiting points of access, and strengthening inspection protocols on all land border crossings;
  • Increase foreign non-military aid dedicated to improving anti-terrorist police training, investigation, information exchange, and international cooperation;
  • Increase federal funding to states and communities for equipping, training and expanding the force of first-responders;
  • Rebuild, strengthen, and reaffirm the primary role of the National Guard as the states' principal means of providing internal security under the command of the various governors;
  • Oppose the use of unmanned devices such as drones for killing people in countries with whom we are not at war and ensure that any use of drones in the context of military operations is fully consistent with U.S. obligations under International Human Rights Law;
  • Recognize the supremacy of the United States Constitution in all matters; safeguard the civil and personal rights in the Constitution and not sacrifice them for invasive and intrusive security legislation against imagined or exaggerated threats. In particular, we support the right of the people under the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures of their private communications by the NSA, and support limiting the NSA to collecting data only from those who have already been identified as agents of a foreign power;
  • Restrict further modernization of our Nuclear Weapons Program pending further cuts in nuclear arsenals by the nuclear weapons states; and,
  • Honor obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty framework to convene a conference to negotiate a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone.