Repairing America’s Defenses
America is in greater danger every day we continue down the path of weakness and retreat President Obama has followed. The threats our country faces are extreme and increasing. Thanks to Obama’s slashing of the defense budget, America’s military capabilities are in the worst shape they’ve been in 60 years. This isn’t just a matter of budgeting. I will restore a national strategy of peace through strength with specific plans and objectives to ensure America is worthy of our allies’ trust and our enemies’ respect. It will take time to solve the many problems Obama has created, but I will soon again to deter or defeat any nation or terrorist network that threatens our country.
President Obama’s wrong-headed policy has forfeited America’s influence in the world because of his core belief that America’s global standing needed to be reduced. He has created a situation in which America is no longer, as it had been since World War 2, the world’s foremost defender of freedom.
To put in simply, America is in great danger because of the policies Obama has pursued.
Natan Sharansky, one of the bravest survivors of the Soviet Union’s gulags, wrote last April in the Wall Street Journal that America has suffered a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. America, he said, has forgotten that it’s America. It is not just a lapse of collective memory. It is the necessary result of Obama’s intentional rejection of the principles that made America the most prominent force for freedom in the world, one which our most powerful enemies understood to be an immovable barrier to aggression.
We expect our military to defend America, help defend our allies and even provide disaster relief in remote corners of the world. Our Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are responsible for deterring and, if necessary, defeating any major threat to America. But we have no national defense and intelligence strategies to answer the key question: what do we expect our military to do, and what do they need to do it? Devising those strategies will be Job One when I am president.
What do we want America’s role in the world to be? To heed Sharansky’s admonition, we need to remember who we are and restore America to its role as a global power. We can – and must – be able to help bring stability to crucial regions of the world. We should not be the world’s policeman. But whenever a vital American national security interest is threatened or actually violated, we need to be able to deter or defeat that threat.
That doesn’t mean we would respond militarily to every situation or even to most. Only vital national security interests – not every interest everywhere – must be protected.
The threats to America are growing and outpacing defense and intelligence spending and planning. Yes, our military and intelligence capabilities must be restored and that will cost a lot of money. But to fix the problems Obama has created is not merely a question of budgeting. It’s a matter of devising an in-depth national security strategy.
That strategy, if I am elected, will be based on the rising dangers we have to face. Russia’s expansion into the Crimea and Ukraine as well as China’s growing domination of the South China Sea are only two of the threats that our best military minds will have to find solutions. Historically, we have been prepared to fight a two-front conflict. Now we are not only unprepared to fight more than one, we may not be able to fight and win any large conflict.
We face networks of terrorists including al-Qaida, ISIS and literally dozens of others with regional or global reach. Nations that sponsor terrorism, especially Iran – the most powerful sponsor of terrorism – need to be deprived of the capabilities that can endanger America. That is only one of the reasons I will revoke Obama’s Iran deal.
We need to deal with the broad threat of cyber attacks on our industry and government. It’s no exaggeration to say that the armed forces, intelligence community and defense and civilian industries suffer thousands of cyber attacks every day. Last March, Adm. Mike Rogers, commander of US Cyber Command, told congress that our efforts to deter cyber attacks aren’t working. We need an offensive cyber capability – and plans and strategies to use it – to deter and defeat these attacks.
It is only an in-depth understanding of these threats and definite plans to deal with them that can lead us to the proper budgeting for our armed services and intelligence community. We have to do better, and we can if we do some hard work and engage in the kind of serious thinking that hasn’t been done since 2008.
My experience equips me to lead these efforts and create the national defense and intelligence capabilities we will need in the near and more distant future. I know the intelligence world, having served as a counterintelligence agent during the Cold War. I was the Chairman of the congressionally-mandated Advisory Panel on Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction (which came to be known as “The Gilmore Commission.”) I’ve come to understand many of our global problems – and the allies who can help us solve them – on missions to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Croatia and Israel. No other candidate can claim that range of experience.
From the top down, as a matter of national policy, we need to understand at a detailed level just what the Pentagon is going to be expected to do for the next five to ten years. Without the analytical basis provided by such a review, budgeteers are working in the dark. I would also conduct a “bottom-to-top” review of our intelligence capabilities to ensure that our intelligence agencies – also suffering Obama’s from neglect – have what they need to protect America.
This is a strategy that will ensure our ability to deter or defeat any major threat to the United States. By implementing it when I am president, we will again achieve peace through strength.