Issue Position: Homeland Security
"We are here to do the work that ensures no other family members have to lose a loved one to a terrorist who turns a plane into a missile, a terrorist who straps a bomb around her waist and climbs aboard a bus, a terrorist who figures out how to set off a dirty bomb in one of our cities. This is why we are here: to make our country safer and make sure the nearly 3,000 who were taken from us did not die in vain; that their legacy will be a more safe and secure Nation."
-- Barack Obama, Speech in the U.S. Senate, March 6, 2007
The first responsibility of any president is to protect the American people. As president, Barack Obama will provide the leadership and strategies to strengthen our security at home.
The Obama-Biden Plan
Barack Obama and Joe Biden's strategy for securing the homeland against 21st century threats is focused on preventing terrorist attacks on our homeland, preparing and planning for emergencies and investing in strong response and recovery capabilities. Obama and Biden will strengthen our homeland against all hazards -- including natural or accidental disasters and terrorist threats -- and ensure that the federal government works with states, localities, and the private sector as a true partner in prevention, mitigation, and response.
Defeat Terrorism Worldwide
* Find, Disrupt, and Destroy Al Qaeda: Responsibly end the war in Iraq and focus on the right battlefield in Afghanistan. Work with other nations to strengthen their capacity to eliminate shared enemies.
* New Capabilities to Aggressively Defeat Terrorists: Improve the American intelligence apparatus by investing in its capacity to collect and analyze information, share information with other agencies and carry out operations to disrupt terrorist networks.
* Prepare the Military to Meet 21st Century Threats: Ensure that our military becomes more stealthy, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. Bolster our military's ability to speak different languages, navigate different cultures, and coordinate complex missions with our civilian agencies.
* Win the Battle of Ideas: Defeat al Qaeda in the battle of ideas by returning to an American foreign policy consistent with America's traditional values, and work with moderates within the Islamic world to counter al Qaeda propaganda. Establish a $2 billion Global Education Fund to work to eliminate the global education deficit and offer an alternative to extremist schools.
* Restore American Influence and Restore Our Values: Stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world. Expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military.
Prevent Nuclear Terrorism
BBarack Obama and Joe Biden have a comprehensive strategy for nuclear security that will reduce the danger of nuclear terrorism, prevent the spread of nuclear weapons capabilities, and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime. They will:
* Secure Nuclear Weapons Materials in Four Years and End Nuclear Smuggling: Lead a global effort to secure all nuclear weapons materials at vulnerable sites within four years -- the most effective way to prevent terrorists from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Fully implement the Lugar-Obama legislation to help our allies detect and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction.
* Strengthen Policing and Interdiction Efforts: Institutionalize the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a global initiative aimed at stopping shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials worldwide.
* Convene a Summit on Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Convene a summit in 2009 (and regularly thereafter) of leaders of Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and other key countries to agree on preventing nuclear terrorism.
* Eliminate Iran's and North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Programs Through Tough, Direct Diplomacy: Use tough diplomacy -- backed by real incentives and real pressures -- to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to eliminate fully and verifiably North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
* Strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): Seek to ensure that the Agency gets the authority, information, people, and technology it needs to do its job.
* Control Fissile Materials: Lead a global effort to negotiate a verifiable treaty ending the production of fissile materials for weapons purposes.
* Prevent Nuclear Fuel from Becoming Nuclear Bombs: Work with other interested governments to establish a new international nuclear energy architecture -- including an international nuclear fuel bank, international nuclear fuel cycle centers, and reliable fuel supply assurances -- to meet growing demands for nuclear power without contributing to proliferation.
* Set the Goal of a Nuclear-Free World: Show the world that America believes in its existing commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to work to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons. America will not disarm unilaterally.
* Seek Real, Verifiable Reductions in Nuclear Stockpiles: Seek deep, verifiable reductions in all U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons and work with other nuclear powers to reduce global stockpiles dramatically.
* Work with Russia to Increase Warning and Decision Time: Work with Russia to end dangerous Cold War policies like keeping nuclear weapons ready to launch on a moment's notice, in a mutual and verifiable manner.
* Appoint White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security: Appoint a deputy national security advisor to be in charge of coordinating all U.S. programs aimed at reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism and weapons proliferation.
* Strengthen Nuclear Risk Reduction Work at Defense, State, and Energy Departments: Expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military. Thwarting terrorist networks requires international partnerships in military, intelligence, law enforcement, financial transactions, border controls, and transportation security.
Strengthen American Biosecurity
Biological weapons pose a serious and increasing national security risk. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work to prevent bioterror attacks and mitigate consequences. They will:
* Prevent Bioterror Attacks: Strengthen U.S. intelligence collection overseas to identify and interdict would-be bioterrorists before they strike.
* Build Capacity to Mitigate the Consequences of Bioterror Attacks: Ensure that decision-makers have the information and communication tools they need to manage disease outbreaks by linking health care providers, hospitals, and public health agencies. A well-planned, well-rehearsed, and rapidly executed epidemic response can dramatically diminish the consequences of biological attacks.
* Accelerate the Development of New Medicines, Vaccines, and Production Capabilities: Build on America's unparalleled talent to create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests and to manufacture them more quickly and efficiently.
* Lead an International Effort to Diminish Impact of Major Infectious Disease Epidemics: Promote international efforts to develop new diagnostics, vaccines, and medicines that will be available and affordable in all parts of the world.
Protect Our Information Networks
Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- working with private industry, the research community and our citizens -- will lead an effort to build a trustworthy and accountable cyber infrastructure that is resilient, protects America's competitive advantage, and advances our national and homeland security. They will:
* Strengthen Federal Leadership on Cyber Security: Declare the cyber infrastructure a strategic asset and establish the position of national cyber advisor who will report directly to the president and will be responsible for coordinating federal agency efforts and development of national cyber policy.
* Initiate a Safe Computing R&D Effort and Harden our Nation's Cyber Infrastructure: Support an initiative to develop next-generation secure computers and networking for national security applications. Work with industry and academia to develop and deploy a new generation of secure hardware and software for our critical cyber infrastructure.
* Protect the IT Infrastructure That Keeps America's Economy Safe: Work with the private sector to establish tough new standards for cyber security and physical resilience.
* Prevent Corporate Cyber-Espionage: Work with industry to develop the systems necessary to protect our nation's trade secrets and our research and development. Innovations in software, engineering, pharmaceuticals and other fields are being stolen online from U.S. businesses at an alarming rate.
* Develop a Cyber Crime Strategy to Minimize the Opportunities for Criminal Profit: Shut down the mechanisms used to transmit criminal profits by shutting down untraceable Internet payment schemes. Initiate a grant and training program to provide federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to detect and prosecute cyber crime.
* Mandate Standards for Securing Personal Data and Require Companies to Disclose Personal Information Data Breaches: Partner with industry and our citizens to secure personal data stored on government and private systems. Institute a common standard for securing such data across industries and protect the rights of individuals in the information age.
Improve Intelligence Capacity and Protect Civil Liberties
* Improve Information Sharing and Analysis: Improve our intelligence system by creating a senior position to coordinate domestic intelligence gathering, establishing a grant program to support thousands more state and local level intelligence analysts, and increasing our capacity to share intelligence across all levels of government.
* Give Real Authority to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board: Support efforts to strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board with subpoena powers and reporting responsibilities. Give the Board a robust mandate designed to protect American civil liberties and demand transparency from the Board to ensure accountability.
* Strengthen Institutions to Fight Terrorism: Establish a Shared Security Partnership Program overseas to invest $5 billion over three years to improve cooperation between U.S. and foreign intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Protect Americans from Terrorist Attacks and Natural Disasters
* Allocate Funds Based on Risk: Allocate our precious homeland security dollars according to risk, not as pork-barrel spending or a form of general revenue sharing. Eliminate waste, fraud and abuse that cost the nation billions of Department of Homeland Security dollars.
* Prepare Effective Emergency Response Plans: Further improve coordination between all levels of government, create better evacuation plan guidelines, ensure prompt federal assistance to emergency zones, and increase medical surge capacity.
* Support First Responders: Increase federal resources and logistic support to local emergency planning efforts.
* Improve Interoperable Communications Systems: Support efforts to provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and dramatically increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems. Appoint a National Chief Technology Officer to ensure that the current non-interoperable plans at the federal, state, and local levels are combined, funded, implemented and effective.
* Working with State and Local Governments and the Private Sector: Make the federal government a better partner to states and localities, one that listens to local concerns and considers local priorities. Reach out to the private sector to leverage its expertise and assets to protect our homeland security.
Protect Critical Infrastructure
* Create a National Infrastructure Protection Plan: Develop an effective critical infrastructure protection and resiliency plan for the nation and work with the private sector to ensure that targets are protected against all hazards.
* Secure our Chemical Plants: Work with all stakeholders to enact permanent federal chemical plant security regulations.
* Improve Airline Security: Redouble our efforts to adequately address the threats our nation continues to face from airplane-based terrorism.
* Monitor our Ports: Redouble our efforts to develop technology that can detect radiation and work with the maritime transportation industry to deploy this technology to maximize security without causing economic disruption.
* Safeguard Public Transportation: Work to protect the public transportation systems Americans use to get to work, school and beyond every day.
* Improve Border Security: Support the virtual and physical infrastructure and manpower necessary to secure our borders and keep our nation safe.
Modernize America's Aging Infrastructure
* Build-in Security: Ensure that security is considered and built into the design of new infrastructure, so that our critical assets are protected from the start and more resilient to naturally-occurring and deliberate threats throughout their life-cycle.
* Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank: Address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank of $60 billion over 10 years, to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. This independent entity will be directed to invest in our nation's most challenging transportation infrastructure needs, without the influence of special interests.
* Invest in Critical Infrastructure Projects: Invest in our nation's most pressing short and long-term infrastructure needs, including modernizing our electrical grid and upgrading our highway, rail, ports, water, and aviation infrastructure. Establish a Grid Modernization Commission to facilitate adoption of Smart Grid practices to improve efficiency and security of our electricity grid.