Pete Buttigieg on Homeland Security

Democratic Presidential Challenger; IN Mayor


Immigrants who enlisted deserve sure path to citizenship

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in a Veterans Day address in 2019, said priority should be given to overhauling and renewing MAVNI. Buttigieg, a Navy Reserve veteran of Afghanistan, said MAVNI [Military Accessions Vital to National Interest] recruits deserve a sure path to citizenship "because if you are willing to risk your life for this country, then it is your country, and we ought to honor that and acknowledge that."
Source: Military.com on Biden Cabinet , Mar 13, 2021

Re-prioritize runaway growth in military spending

Q: Would you cut military spending? Or would you keep it on the same upward trajectory?

BUTTIGIEG: We need to re-prioritize our budget as a whole and our military spending in particular. It's not just how much, although we certainly need to look at the runaway growth in military spending. It's also where. Right now, we are spending a fraction of the attention and resources on things like the artificial intelligence research that China is doing right now. If we fall behind on artificial intelligence, the most expensive ships that the United States is building just turned into bigger targets. We do not have a 21st century security strategy coming from this president. After all, he's relying on 17th century security technologies, like a moat full of alligators or a big wall. There is no concept of strategic planning for how civilian, diplomatic, and military security work needs to take place for the future.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

Special ops more useful than land troops in some cases

In situations like Syria and Afghanistan, large numbers of land troops are not necessary to achieve our stated goals there. Small contingents of special operations forces and intelligence capabilities can be more effective, particularly in tandem with regional allies and partners.
Source: Military Times on Biden Transition , Nov 18, 2019

Military budget should be defined by 21st century realities

We must ensure that our investments are defined by 21st-century realities, and we must be proactive in addressing global military changes. The Chinese are investing huge resources in artificial intelligence. If they develop artificial intelligence and predictive computing superiority over the United States, then the most expensive ships and planes and units we're putting out in the field just become bigger targets. We also know that strength is more than just military power.
Source: Military Times on Biden Transition , Nov 18, 2019

Put an end to endless war; require 3-year sunset for wars

Today, 9/12/2019, means that today you could be 18 years old, old enough to serve, and had not been alive on 9/11. We have got to put an end to endless war. if there's one thing we've learned from Afghanistan, it's that the best way not to be caught up in endless war is to avoid starting one in the first place.

And so when I am president, an authorization for the use of military force will have a built-in three-year sunset. Congress will be required to vote and a president will be required to go to Congress to seek an authorization. Because if our troops can summon the courage to go overseas, the least our members of Congress should be able to do is summon the courage to take a vote on whether they ought to be there.

I'll tell you, as a military officer, the very first thing that goes through your mind, the first time you ever make eye contact with somebody that you are responsible for in uniform, is do not let these men and women down. This president is doing exactly that. I will not.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Bring troops home from Afghanistan except for Special Ops

Our objective has remained the same: ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a base for terrorist attacks against the US or its allies. A negotiated peace agreement in which we maintain a relevant special operations/intelligence presence but bring home our ground troops is the best way to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a base for terrorist attacks. Using our current presence to help lock in a peace agreement should be part of that strategy.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2020 presidential primary , Jul 30, 2019

Boost the defense budget

Peter Buttigieg on Defense Spending: Boost the defense budget.

EIGHT CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Michael Bennet; Joseph Biden, Jr.; Cory Booker; John Hickenlooper; Amy Klobuchar; Seth Moulton; Beto O`Rourke; Tim Ryan.

Other Democratic contenders align with the more moderate--or even hawkish--wing of the Democratic party and support larger defense budgets, especially in key areas they consider high priorities.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Suffered post-deployment depression, but not PTSD

Pete Buttigieg said that although he wasn't diagnosed with PTSD after returning from Afghanistan after a 7-month deployment in 2014, "there's a level of depression that I went through when I came back."

Why it matters: This is a new window into Buttigieg's unusual experience of serving as a 32-year-old, then returning to resume his job as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. "Of course, it's the effect of having been exposed to danger," Buttigieg said. "I think, also, some moral pressure." He continued, "Any time, in any way, you are even remotely involved in killing, it takes something out of you, and it takes a lot of work to process that." Buttigieg told me the feeling lasted about a year, and that he never felt he needed medical treatment.

Buttigieg, who was an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve, noted that "It's the displacement--the fact that you are trying to come back into a civilian world whose rules are just different than when you were deployed."

Source: Axios.com on 2020 Democratic primary , Jun 16, 2019

Must not allow foreign powers to interfere in elections

We were attacked by a hostile foreign power that decided that they could damage America, destabilize America, by intervening in the election to help [Trump] win. And they did and he did, and now America's destabilized. If you believe in putting this country first, how could you ever talk about allowing a foreign power to interfere in the most sacred thing that we have in our civic tradition in America, which is our elections?
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview , Jun 16, 2019

Prioritize cyber-threats & extremism, not more submarines

We must also be proactive in confronting armed extremist threats at home. In the past decade more Americans have been killed in America by right-wing extremists than those inspired by al Qaeda or ISIS, we need to acknowledge this threat too and redirect appropriate resources to combat right-wing extremism and violent white nationalism.

In the coming decades, we are more likely than ever to face insurgencies, asymmetric attacks, and high-tech strikes with cyber weapons or drones. Yet our latest defense budget calls for spending more on 3 Virginia-class submarines-- $10.2 billion--than on cyber defenses. It proposes spending more on a single frigate than on artificial intelligence and machine learning. We need to look not only at how much we're spending on our military but what we're prioritizing.

Source: 2020 presidential campaign website, PeteForAmerica.com , Jun 11, 2019

Security establishment should reflect nation's diversity

A foreign policy that serves our people can best be made by government officials who represent the full diversity of our people. For far too long, our national security establishment has not reflected this diversity. We must work to upgrade our hiring practices to promote both diversity and excellence. No matter where they come from, our finest minds should find it as attractive and compelling to serve in Foggy Bottom, or USAID or Langley as it is to work on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley.
Source: 2020 presidential campaign website, PeteForAmerica.com , Jun 11, 2019

More years of executive & military experience than most

Pete has more years of government experience than the president, more years of executive government experience than the vice president, and more military experience than anybody to walk into the Oval Office since President George H. W. Bush. Pete served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and took an unpaid seven-month leave during his mayoral term to deploy to Afghanistan. For his counterterrorism work, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
Source: 2020 Presidential Campaign website PeteForAmerica.com , May 2, 2019

Be serious about security like Israel, but live freely

Buttigieg had praise for Israel, suggesting its way of handling security threats could be a good model for the US. Seeing the way that a country can be very very serious, and effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allowing concerns about security to dominate your consciousness, I think that's a very important lesson that Americans can look to when we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us.
Source: Alex Ward of Vox.com on 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 3, 2019

9/11 brought post-Cold War era to new generation of war

Some fashionable scholars had taken to calling the "End of History" after the close of the Cold War. But on a crisp September day in Manhattan, history thundered back into being. It wasn't hard to tell by sundown that everything would be different, that irony and apathy wouldn't dominate our years after all, that our generation would go to war just as our parents' and their parents' did.

History was back, and our generation's project had been abruptly reassigned--that yesterday we had been absorbed in Clinton-era concerns around globalization, the distribution of wealth, and the consequences of technology. Like laws of physics, these forces were animating our affairs all along.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 10-11 , Feb 12, 2019

Knee-jerk PATRIOT Act undercut American freedoms

[After 9/11], we might have lost our innocence and learned something about the world, but we did not suddenly become wise. One friend summed up how it looked to many: "Doesn't Afghanistan know we have bombs?" It took a while to catch on to the idea that this was an attack on the United States not by the country of Afghanistan, but Al-Qaeda, protected by the Taliban, which governed most Afghans but was not exactly an administration. We had been attacked by a transnational network, hosted by a rogue regime presiding over a failed state.

The responses were largely knee-jerk; a PATRIOT Act that undercut the freedoms that define America, and several quick steps down the slippery slope to torture. So slow were we to realize how fundamentally different this was than wars we had studied in school or seen in movies that by October we were bargaining against our own values, moving steadily and surely into the jaws of a trap that Al-Qaeda had laid for us.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 47-8 , Feb 12, 2019

Signed up for military in 2008, during Iraq troop surge

[In 2008] three of my friends decided to reach out to the Obama campaign to see if we could be helpful by taking a few days off [from classes at Harvard] to knock on doors. Our trio spent the days around New Year's 2008 in south-central Iowa, working in towns.

The Iraq troop surge was winding down but not yet over. Afghanistan, mostly out of view, was simmering. Yellow ribbons were everywhere, and more than once I would knock on a door and get into a conversation with a young man who told me he would love to go to the caucus on Thursday and vote, but couldn't because he was packing up for Basic Training. [He signed up].

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 70-1 , Feb 12, 2019

1950s norm was college then military; he followed suit

For my grandfather's generation, military service was a great equalizer--something that Americans (at least, American men) had in common across race, class, and geography.

In 1956, a majority of the graduating classes of Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton joined the military. But in the decades that followed, the once-diverse makeup of our military shifted drastically , especially after Vietnam.

As I reflected on it, I realized that my arrival at Harvard coincided with the near-disappearance of my own childhood interest in serving. At a younger age, when I had hoped to be an astronaut or a pilot, service in uniform was very much on the table. Indeed, on my mother's side, it was a family tradition. [He signed up for the military].

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 71-2 , Feb 12, 2019

Recognize Vietnam Veterans Day, as late honor

At the Vietnam Welcome Home event, I said: "At the end of my tour in Afghanistan, the reception couldn't have been better. At the airport, people lined up to shake our hands, waving flags." A little choked up, I continued to the point. "Many of you did not get that welcome home. And it's a shame. These days, as a society, we have learned how to separate how we feel about a policy and how we treat the men and women sent overseas to serve. That wasn't true for Vietnam veterans. I'm sorry that not everyone thanked you properly. I'm sorry that this is coming late: Thank you. And welcome home."

Recognizing Vietnam Veterans Day has only begun in the last few years, but it quickly became another occasion for me to see how important a symbolic act can be. Some of the vet's eyes water. It's clear to them the honor however late in their lives, is meaningful. One of them tells me he was 18 when he went, "They called me a baby-killer when I got back," he says, staring into the distance.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.258-9 , Feb 12, 2019

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Pete Buttigieg on other issues:
Incoming 2021 Biden Administration:
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State/Luxembourg:Tom Barrett
HHS:Xavier Becerra
Pres.:Joe Biden
State:Antony Blinken
DOT:Pete Buttigieg
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State/Turkey:Jeff Flake
HUD:Marcia Fudge
State/India:Eric Garcetti
Attorney General:Merrick_Garland
DOE:Jennifer Granholm
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NASA:Bill Nelson
DOC:Gina Raimondo
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Page last updated: Sep 01, 2021