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Howard Dean on Homeland Security

Former VT Governor; Former Democratic Candidate for President


Switch funding from Star Wars to human intelligence

There are two big problems with the defense budget. One is that there are the contracts that get let out [with conflicts of interest], like the Halliburton contract [when Cheney was] getting money from Halliburton in deferred compensation. That’s a violation of the federal ethics code, even though it may theoretically not be against the law. And the other is that the problem with the defense budget is not entirely its size, it’s what it’s spent on. We should be go back into the ABM Treaty. We ought to sign the land mines treaty. Instead of building the tactical battlefield nuclear weapons program, which is a weapons program that does nothing to fight against terrorism, we need to invest in special ops and human intelligence. Instead of investing in Star Wars, which has failed the majority of its tests, that we ought to be doing different kinds of things with that money, such as paying soldiers and making sure there are adequate schools on our military bases.
Source: NPR, “Justice Talking” Dean-Nader Debate , Jul 9, 2004

Saddam is a distraction; focus on Al Qaeda

Q: What about Lieberman’s comment that if we had followed your ideas toward Saddam Hussein, he’d still be in power?

DEAN: I actually don’t believe that, because given the time that’s elapsed, we could have done the proper thing, which George Bush’s father did, and put together a coalition to go after somebody who was a regional threat but not a threat to the US. We need a concentrated attack on Al Qaeda and on Osama bin Laden. Saddam Hussein has been a distraction.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa , Jan 4, 2004

No SDI deployment until it’s proven to work

I support missile defense efforts that make us more secure; I oppose deployment of any system not yet proven to work.
Source: Dean writing in Washington Post , Dec 21, 2003

America is about value of freedom not just military strength

I believe [Americans] are ready for leadership that would strive not to divide the world into ‘us versus them,’ but rather to rally the world around fundamental principles of decency, responsibility, freedom, and mutual respect. Our foreign and military policies must be about the notion of America leading the world, not America against the world. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy built and strengthened international institutions, rather than dismissing and disparaging the concerns of allies.
Source: Winning Back America, by Howard Dean, p.162-3 , Dec 3, 2003

Realign defense funds away from Star Wars

I don't think we can cut the defense budget, he says. "We're not paying for adequate homeland security. 20% of American soldiers get food stamps, and Bush is cutting pay for soldiers in hazardous duty."

"This doesn't mean we can't realign spending," Dean says. Dismissing Bush's strategic defense program as "Star Wars," Dean says he would continue missile defense research, but at the very least hold off on deployment until scientists were certain the system would be effective.

Source: Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would be President, p.223 , Oct 1, 2003

Redirect military spending rather than reduce defense budget

On military spending, Dean has rightfully aroused anger and skepticism from progressives with his claims that he will not reduce military spending. It appears, however, that these statements are a political dodge of sorts to avoid media characterizations of Dean as the “antiwar candidate” and “weak on national security.” Dean has told audiences that he would not reduce military spending but rather “redirect” it toward the development and implementation of renewable energy technology (an issue he ties to defense), homeland security measures to fund local first responders, inspect container ships and protect nuclear sites (a move that Alexander Cockburn himself recently called on Bush to make), and the purchase of old nuclear materials in Russia.
Source: Nico Pitney, CommonDreams.org, “Progressive Case for Dean” , Aug 11, 2003

Missile defense programs only within ABM Treaty compliance

Dean has called Bush’s policy of renewed nuclear weapons development “insane” and opposes every significant component of Star Wars missile defense, declaring that any missile defense programs he would support will at least remain in compliance with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Dean also supports (with provisions, in some cases) the comprehensive nuclear test ban, the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Biological Warfare Convention Protocol, the International Criminal Court, and the Landmine Treaty.
Source: Nico Pitney on CommonDreams.org , Aug 11, 2003

Shift $1B per year from missile defense to threat reduction

A Dean administration would be guided by the notion that Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) and related programs [Russia and other former Soviet states] with are a more urgent priority than National Missile Defense and would transfer $1 billion per year from the over $8 billion ballistic missile defense budget to CTR and related programs. As President, Howard Dean will increase our intelligence, police and military special forces capabilities abroad to thwart and disrupt terrorist operations.
Source: 2004 presidential website, DeanForAmerica.com , Jul 2, 2003

Focus Pentagon budget on military personnel’s needs

I do not favor decreasing the Pentagon budget, but do support restructuring the way money is spent to ensure the most effective use of taxpayers’ dollars possible. I am deeply committed to maintaining a high quality professional force established during the Clinton years. I also believe much more must be done to provide for the well-being of our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen and their families.
Source: 2004 presidential website, DeanForAmerica.com, “DOD Budget” , Jul 2, 2003

Focus war budget on protecting vital infrastructure

We must stop shortchanging homeland defense. We need a war budget here at home, with a much more substantial investment in helping Russia to safeguard nuclear materials.
Source: DeanForAmerica.com campaign website, “National Security” , Jun 17, 2003

Anti-war, but has national security experience as governor

Q: A lot of Democrats thing that an anti-war governor with no national security experience simply cannot go toe-to-toe with President Bush.

DEAN: I do have national security experience. Every single governor since September 11 has had to deal with security issues in homeland security. That’s why I don’t think the president is doing a particularly good job.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC , May 3, 2003

Deal with terrorism as a joint federal-state responsibility.

Dean adopted the National Governors Association policy:

Source: NGA policy HR-10: Domestic Terrorism 01-NGA5 on Feb 15, 2001

Include states in anti-terrorism planning.

Dean adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The issue of terrorism will be of major focus for the 107th Congress. Governors have a critical interest in controlling domestic terrorism because they are responsible for ensuring that state and local authorities have the ability to deal with natural disasters and other types of major emergencies, including terrorist incidents.

NGA’s Position

NGA believes that any national strategy for dealing with terrorist incidents should include planning and training by state and local forces. The unique nature of terrorism coupled with national security implications requires the support and expertise of the federal government in working with state and local government in developing capabilities. A clear national strategy developed through a partnership among federal agencies and key state, local, and private sector stakeholders is essential to drive operational and programmatic planning, training, and service delivery in combating terrorism.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA7 on Sep 14, 2001

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Homeland Security.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Howard Dean.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Howard Dean.
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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014