National Security Network

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Restore American Military Power

Military
Our military is second to none, but eight years of negligence, lack of accountability, and a reckless war in Iraq have left our ground forces facing shortfalls in both recruitment and readiness. Every service is out of balance and ill-prepared. We need a new strategy to give the military the tools it needs for the challenges we face today. And we need leadership that meets our obligations to the men and women who put their lives on the line.
Read the full paper: The Progressive Approach: The Military »

Military

Special Election Day report: What the GOP wave means for defense

News POLITICO Morning Defense 2 November 2010
Military

The Conservative Defense Myth

News AOL News 1 November 2010
Military

Keeping Our Promises to America’s Bravest

Report 21 October 2010
This week the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America (IAVA), a nonpartisan veteran's advocacy organization, released a scorecard for Congress on veteran's issues.  The results are pretty clear: despite conservative rhetoric about supporting the troops, progressives are stronger at keeping America's promises to its troops.  Veterans' services took a heavy toll from years of neglect, underfunding and poor war planning.  IAVA's scorecard focuses on legislation to clean up the mess and deliver on America's promises.  On the issues of education, mental health screening and access to retroactive pay, progressives have demonstrated strong leadership.  Yet, disregarding reality, conservatives continue to go on the attack and claim that progressives are "anti-defense" or not "a friend of America's heroes."  In fact, on the campaign trail conservatives have actually taken their already unpopular outlook on veterans issues - which led to their poor rating from IAVA - to an extreme.  A number of candidates including the Sharron Angle and Ken Buck have called for privatizing and dismantling the Department of Veterans Affairs.  And Pat Toomey actually described pay increases for troops as "wasteful."  We as a country have work left to do to keep our promises to the troops and makes sure they receive the benefits they have earned.  It's our duty.
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Military

Repealing DADT Honors Our Values and Protects Our Security

Report 20 October 2010
The United States military began accepting openly gay and lesbian recruits yesterday for the first time in its history.  In observing the federal judge's order for the military to cease enforcing the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) law, which was found to both violate the equal protection and First Amendment rights of service members, the military is strengthening itself while honoring core American values.  The judges' ruling, while focused on constitutional rights, provides clear benefits for our national security.  From recruitment to costs to readiness, America's top military leaders and national security experts agree that DADT has hurt our military's strength.  With support from young veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, this flawed policy's termination is overdue.

As a pro-forma matter, the Justice Department is appealing the decision, but conservatives in Congress have gone much further and aggressively blocked the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act because it included language repealing DADT.  This blatantly political move, which has prevented vital authorization for troops in the field and the Pentagon overall, harms our country's security precisely at the time that we need clarity in the Pentagon's personnel policy.  Yet conservatives, who have fumbled the issue by comparing homosexuality to alcoholism and arguing that the military cannot handle this - try to score cheap political points on this issue on the campaign trail.  Just as with other national security issues, conservative clearly have not put much thought into the issue and are happily sacrificing American values and security on the altar of political expediency. 

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Military

Conservatives Clash over Defense Spending

Report 5 October 2010

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal op-ed by leaders of the top three conservative think tanks attempts to reimpose conservative orthodoxy on an issue - defense spending - that has sharply divided conservatives in recent months.  Against the backdrop of a slowly recovering economy and a globalizing world, thoughtful military leaders - and some political leaders from both parties - are stressing that our military might flows from our economic power, not the other way around.  Secretary Gates has frequently invoked the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said that the United States "could only be as militarily strong as it was economically dynamic and fiscally sound."  He has called on the military to align its spending with the actual challenges we face, and to make a new, serious push against waste, fraud and inefficiency.

With a commitment to use all elements of our power, not just our armed forces, those ought to be principles for bipartisan agreement.  Instead, the conservative movement's Cold War-era leaders are mounting a rearguard action that would actually increase defense spending and make its current, historically high levels permanent - regardless of the challenges we face or the state of our economy. One conservative strategist called this intra-party debate "a massive, almost historic battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."  It also represents a test of seriousness for anyone seeking responsibility for America's security and economic health at this troubled time.

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Military

Blocking Defense Authorization Jeopardizes National Security

Report 21 September 2010
Today, the Senate plans to vote on whether to begin debate on the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The NDAA is crucial to the nation's defense, as it provides the budget and policy guidelines for key national security priorities, such as military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, actions against terrorism and efforts to combat the spread of nuclear weapons.  It also provides crucial authorization for pay and health benefits to the men and women of the military who are serving in harm's way.  Yet despite the essential role that this legislation plays in securing our country and guiding the nation's military activities for the coming year, conservatives have threatened to filibuster the bill because it contains a provision repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).  The repeal of DADT is a position that has the broad support of military leaders, experts and veterans.  Also a source of the opposition is the majority's desire to debate the bipartisan DREAM Act as part of the bill, which is a normal procedure often used in the Senate.  So while Senate conservatives use bogus arguments by claiming that they oppose the bill because of non-pertinent amendments, the nation's military suffers.  This sort of hypocritical politicking and obstruction doesn't stand the test of scrutiny, contradicts precedents set by these same conservatives and prevents a legitimate policy debate from taking place on the Senate floor, undercutting America's defense while we are facing multiple threats abroad.
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Military

A 21st Century Defense Strategy

Report 14 September 2010
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will bring the Defense Authorization bill to the floor next week.  The bill takes small but important steps toward a 21 century defense strategy:  repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and eliminating wasteful defense programs. 
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Military

Generals Wary of Move to Cut Their Ranks

News The New York Times 26 August 2010
Military

Iraqi war vet gets trip around city

News Nashua Telegraph 6 August 2010