Issue Position: Defense
THE BIDEN PLAN: SMART CHOICES TO MAKE AMERICA STRONGER
Senator Biden believes that the most important military asset America has is the all-volunteer force and the families that support the force. America's fighting men and women bring bravery, intelligence, discipline, flexibility, and innovation to every fight. In order for them to do their best, Senator Biden believes they must be given the best - the best equipment, training, and family support.
A Larger Force: Senator Biden believes that the all-volunteer force must be large enough for today's varied national security challenges. This means not only increasing the size of the force, but making sure that we carefully review organizational structures and changing missions.
Strengthening Military Families: Our soldiers and their families deserve a high quality of life. Senator Biden believes that we must pay close attention to the needs of military families and ensure that they have the support they need. Adequate child care, educational benefits, job assistance, and counseling are all essential to helping military families deal with the stresses of military life.
Making Use of the Whole Force: A strong National Guard, properly equipped, is essential to homeland defense and to fighting international threats. Senator Biden believes that America's citizen-soldiers bring critical civilian skills and expertise into national security operations. They are also a vital link to communities where there is often no other military presence. As Iraq and Katrina have shown, America needs to continue to have a National Guard that is ready to help in war and in natural disasters at home.
Keeping Our Strategic Edge: No military can be successful without the ability to get to the fight and stay there. Senator Biden believes the military must have adequate airlift in order to be effective globally. Airlift allows our military to engage in operations around the world, including both wartime operations and providing humanitarian relief.
Maximizing Our Resources: We must spend military dollars smarter, with greater accountability. Today's enemies are flexible and adaptive. Our military must be able to respond quickly to new threats. Senator Biden wants to get rid of mismanagement and waste in military procurement so that we can quickly get warfighters the best equipment available.
THE BIDEN RECORD: A LARGER MILITARY, BETTER EQUIPPED AND TRAINED FOR THE FIGHT
Saving Lives with Better Equipment: Senator Biden fought hard to get Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) into Iraq faster. The military said that MRAPs would reduce American casualties from Improvised Explosive Devices by 67-80%. In the beginning of 2007, the Administration had only planned to spend $1.795 billion for these life-saving vehicles. By the end of 2007, Senator Biden successfully pushed to ensure that $22.4 billion was being spent, which exponentially increased the production and fielding rate.
Growing the Force: Senator Biden believes that we must have a military large enough to deal with multiple threats around the world and here at home. Only with a larger military can we increase the size of Special Operations forces. In addition, a larger military is needed for sustained operations. We must be able to complete military missions without breaking the force and we must make sure that we do not contract out our security. Military personnel must get adequate rest between deployments for both their mental health and to maintain strong families. To keep our military strong and ready for multiple missions, Senator Biden has supported and co-sponsored legislation to increase the size of the military. He has also co-sponsored legislation to give active-duty military personnel a minimum of the same time at home as the time they are deployed.
Securing Weapons of Mass Destruction: Senator Biden has spent much of his career advocating for smarter arms control. He has led efforts to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction expertise from the former Soviet Union, and has supported the Nunn-Lugar program and related efforts to secure nuclear material in the former Soviet Union and around the world, so that we do not have to take military action to disarm or respond to a nuclear-armed terrorist.
Promoting Innovation: Senator Biden has always believed that the military should benefit from American innovation and expertise. He has been a strong advocate of making sure that small businesses with cutting-edge technology are able to work with the Department of Defense.
Strengthening Homeland Defense: Senator Biden recognizes the vital role of the National Guard in protecting the homeland. He successfully led the fight to keep Delaware's Air National Guard Base open by making clear to Base Realignment and Closure Commissioners the value of the missions, the organizations, and infrastructure at the base. He has also successfully led the way in finding ways for citizens with much needed information security experience to help the government track terrorist financing and protect our information systems through Guard service.
Fighting for the Best Airlift: Senator Biden understands that strategic airlift (C-5s and C-17s) is critical to America's ability to get to the fight and stay in the fight. It is also critical to being able to help those in need. He has long fought to make sure the nation has enough modern airlift capability to meet its needs. He has also fought to make sure there is adequate infrastructure needed to support the airlift fleet, including at Dover Air Force Base.