Democratic Party on Homeland Security

Party Platform


Confront terrorism while upholding Constitutional values

We must always seek to uphold our values at home, not just when it is easy, but, more importantly, when it is hard. Advancing our interests may involve new actions and policies to confront threats like terrorism, but the President and the Democratic Party believe these practices must always be in line with our Constitution, preserve our people's privacy and civil liberties, and withstand the checks and balances that have served us so well. That is why the President banned torture without exception in his first week in office. That is why we are reforming military commissions to bring them in line with the rule of law. That is why we are substantially reducing the population at Guantanamo Bay without adding to it. And we remain committed to working with all branches of government to close the prison altogether because it is inconsistent with our national security interests and our values.
Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform , Sep 4, 2012

Lead the world by telling truth to our troops & our citizens

We will protect Americans at home and lead the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies. We believe in a strong national defense that is both tough & smart, recognizing that homeland security begins with hometown security.

Democrats have a plan that is comprehensive-- from repairing our military, to winning the war on terror, to protecting our homeland security, to ensuring success in Iraq and freeing America of its dependence on foreign oil--and it will finally prepare America for the security needs of the 21st Century. And we honor the sacrifices our troops, their families and veterans by making sure we take care of them when they come home.

Democrats are unwavering in our commitment to keep our nation safe. For Democrats, homeland security begins with hometown security. That’s why we led the fight to create the Department of Homeland Security and continue to fight to ensure that our ports, nuclear plants, & other sensitive facilities are secured against attack.

Source: 2006 Democratic Party Congressional Promise , Nov 1, 2006

Excessive use of our military breeds more terrorists

Among Republicans, the percentage endorsing diplomacy in preference to military action is minimal, while Democrats take the opposite point of view. In the approach to combating terrorism, 2/3 of Republicans believe that use of overwhelming force is best, while an even larger proportion of Democrats think that, although our armed forces should be used when our nation's security is threatened, excessive use of military action tends to increase animosity against our country and breed more terrorists. This sharp and growing difference over the issue of whether international disputes can be better resolved by diplomacy or by military action is now the most accurate predictor of party affiliation--more important than gay marriage, homosexuality, or abortion.
Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p. 9-10 , Sep 26, 2006

We respect and honor our veterans

As Americans, we respect and honor our veterans. We are indebted to all those courageous men and women who have answered our country’s call to duty. Their service and sacrifice, their dedication and love of country advance our cause of freedom and uphold our finest traditions as a nation.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p. 3 , Jul 10, 2004

3 challenges: War on Terror; WMDs, stable world democracy

Today, we face three great challenges above all others - first, to win the global war against terror; second, to stop the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; and third, to promote democracy and freedom around the world, starting with a peaceful and stable Iraq. To meet these challenges, we need a new national security policy guided by four new imperatives: First, America must launch and lead a new era of alliances for the post-September 11 world. Second, we must modernize the world’s most powerful military to meet the new threats. Third, in addition to our military might, we must deploy all that is in America’s arsenal - our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, and the appeal of our values and ideas. Fourth and finally, to safeguard our freedom and ensure our nation’s future, we must end our dependence on Mideast oil.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p. 3-4 , Jul 10, 2004

Reform intelligence community internationally and locally

Improving intelligence to find & stop terrorists. We will train and equip the military to enhance its capabilities to seek out and destroy terrorists. We will strengthen the capacity of intelligence and law enforcement around the world by forging stronger international coalitions to provide better information and communication. We must also improve our intelligence here at home. From the failure to uncover the September 11th plot to the deeply misguided reports about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, we have experienced unprecedented intelligence failures in recent years. We must do what President Bush has refused to do - reform our intelligence system by creating a true Director of National Intelligence with real control of intelligence personnel and budgets. We must train more analysts in languages spoken by terrorists. And we must break down the old communications barriers between national intelligence and local law enforcement, taking care to fully preserve our liberties
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p. 4-5 , Jul 10, 2004

Safeguard nuclear material and stop creating new material

Locking away existing nuclear weapons & material. [We should] safeguard all bomb making material worldwide. We need to find it, catalog it, & lock it away. Our approach should be simple: treat nuclear materials that make bombs like they are bombs. More than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia still has nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons and enough nuclear material to produce 50,000 more. For most of these weapons and materials, cooperative security upgrades have not been completed.

We will lead an international coalition to put an end to the production of new materials - highly enriched uranium and plutonium - for use in nuclear weapons. And we will reduce excess stocks of existing nuclear materials and weapons. We will conduct a global cleanout initiative to remove stockpiles of vulnerable highly enriched uranium at research reactors and facilities in dozens of countries around the world within four years

Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p. 6 , Jul 10, 2004

Add 40,000 new soldiers and keep military all-volunteer

We need a new military to meet the new threats of the 21st Century. Today’s American military is the best in the world, but tomorrow’s military must be even better. It must be stronger, faster, better armed, and never again stretched so thin. As a first step, we will expand America’s active duty forces. The war in Iraq has overextended our armed services. We are effectively using a stop-loss policy and recall of Individual Ready Reserve members as a back-door draft.

[If elected], we will add 40,000 new soldiers-not to increase the number of soldiers in Iraq, but to sustain our overseas deployments and prevent & prepare for other possible conflicts. This will help relieve the strain on our troops and bring back more of our soldiers, guardsmen and reservists. We are dedicated to keeping our military operating on a volunteer basis. We are committed to management reform both to ensure that our defense funding is spent effectively and to help pay for these new forces.

Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.12 , Jul 10, 2004

Focus on cargo containers and border security

More secure borders. We will improve security at our borders and entry-points to block the individuals and weapons that would harm us. We will strengthen container security rules, improve the detection equipment in our shipping systems, ensure that private companies are providing adequate information about the goods they are shipping, and work with other nations to increase inspection levels abroad. We will put an end to political delays in adopting tighter controls on air cargo, tons of which goes uninspected every day. We will increase perimeter inspections at U.S. airports and work with international aviation authorities to make sure the same standards are in place overseas. Working with our Northern and Southern neighbors, we will strengthen controls at border crossings, and use modern technology and better staffing to improve the quality of border inspections while enhancing commerce.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.16-17 , Jul 10, 2004

Equip military for new threats and missions

A strong, flexible, and modern military is the guarantor of our physical survival and the protection of our interests. The Democratic Party understands that the armed forces must continue to evolve. They must sharpen their ability to deal with new kinds of threats. They must become more agile, more versatile, and must more completely incorporate the revolutionary implications and advantages of American supremacy in information technology.
Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000

Encourage military careers with better pay & benefits

Military pay must continue to increase. We need to further reform the military retirement system and improve housing, health care, and childcare benefits to support the competitiveness of military careers during a period of prosperity. While the number of soldiers on food stamps is down by two-thirds over the past decade, it is unacceptable that any member of our armed forces should have to rely on food stamps.
Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000

Prepare military with advanced military and technology

It is imperative to replace aging weapons systems with advanced, high-tech weapons. The Democratic Party will make sure that the military has the most advanced weaponry, sophisticated intelligence, and information systems and, in addition, continues to invest in research and development for future supremacy. We must ensure that investment in the infrastructure needed to support the military is not ignored.
Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000

Develop limited missile defense system

Our first priority is to continue to cut stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, halting testing, and ensuring that weapons and weapons-grade material do not fall into the wrong hands. In light of the possibility that U.S. forces will have to contend with hostile tactical range ballistic missiles, we have been working rapidly to develop anti-tactical ballistic missile systems. We reject Republican plans to endanger our security with massive unilateral cuts in our arsenal and to construct an unproven, expensive, and ill-conceived missile defense system that would plunge us into a new arms race. Democrats support the development of the technology for a limited national missile defense system.
Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000

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Page last updated: Feb 24, 2022