2018 Platform: National Security

California Democrats believe that keeping the United States of America and Americans safe is of the utmost importance.  A strong national defense must include aspects that go beyond military might.  Our national security also depends upon a strong domestic economy, a stable federal budget, a healthy environment, and an international regard as a responsible member of the world community.  We are committed to a foreign policy that holds the use of military force as the last resort for national defense, used only when available diplomatic and preventive options have been exhausted and in conformity with the United Nations Charter.  We recognize that current national security policies should take into consideration their downstream effects and unintended consequences.  In that regard, we recognize that the current level of military spending hinders our government's ability to deal with domestic priorities, including unemployment, the national debt, and environmental degradation.


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, and the hopes of its children.”


To preserve, protect and defend our country and the Constitution of the United States, California Democrats will:

  • Support reallocating the defense budget on expenditures that protect the homeland against current threats such as terrorism, loose fissile materials, and the fight against extremist ideologies.  Military spending should address today’s threats, not yesterday’s adversaries;
  • Increase foreign non-military aid dedicated to improving anti-terrorism capabilities, law enforcement training, investigation, information exchange, and international cooperation.  We believe that it is impossible to eradicate terrorism solely through a strategy of war and brute force.  A robust foreign intelligence, an effective foreign aid program, and domestic policing should be better leveraged to support the nation’s fight against terrorism;
  • Support a gradual and responsible reduction in the DOD budget – in line with historic drawdowns after major conflicts – and reallocation of those cutbacks to state and local government needs;
  • Rebalance our national security portfolio to place more emphasis on nonmilitary tools such as diplomacy and foreign aid;
  • Support a foreign policy that promotes democratic reforms abroad and the promotion of human rights and the rule of law;
  • Secure our ports of entry by enhancing the inspections at all airports, seaports, land crossings, and cargo containers;
  • Increase federal funding to states and communities for equipment, training, and improving the capabilities 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;
  • Support the establishment of clear and accountable chain of command for the use of unmanned devices, such as drones 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 law;
  • Recognize the supremacy of the United States Constitution in all matters.  Gathering of intelligence must be balanced with the constitutional protection of Americans.  All domestic surveillance must be in compliance with our laws and regulations and in particular, the Fourth Amendment that protects the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure;
  • Honor obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty framework and set a long-term policy to reduce and eventually eliminate weapons of mass destruction throughout the world;
  • Support investments in infrastructure improvements and technology that promote domestic energy independence through renewable sources, that climate change and concomitant global warming pose a national security threat;
  • Support a common-sense ban on deadly assault weapons and devices used to turn rifles into automatic weapons such as bump-stocks;
  • Support the expansion of universal background checks;
  • Support keeping firearms out of dangerous hands by expanding firearm prohibitions to those who, based on past behavior or condition, are deemed at risk of acts of violence; and promote policies and programs to limit access to firearms by children, suicidal persons, and those in crisis;
  • Work to deter gun trafficking, “straw purchasing,” and illegal guns by identifying, reforming, or shutting down "bad apple" gun dealers in California;
  • Support California’s strong gun laws by providing the necessary resources and funding for implementation, training, and enforcement of those laws, including the Armed Prohibited Persons System Program, the Gun Violence Restraining Order, the tracing of all crime guns, and the investigation of all denied firearm purchasers;
  • Protect California’s strong gun laws from court challenges and federal intrusion, including defeating forced concealed carry reciprocity and any removal of silencers from current regulations;
  • Support enhancing federal and state law enforcement agency cybersecurity capabilities in order to protect Americans against the increase in identity theft;
  • Protect American creativity and jobs by combating online piracy of intellectual property; and,
  • Advocate for policies that reduce the demand for illicit drugs and thereby decrease the influence of international narco-traffickers.



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