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Public Statements

The Hill - Ten Principles of National Security After The Cold War

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Date:
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Title: Ten Principles of National Security After The Cold War
Date: 7/30/2004
Location: Unknown

By Congressman Adam Schiff
Published in The Hill newspaper on July 30, 2003.

Much has changed since the end of the Cold War that augurs well for the survival of our nation. Most significant, the prospect of mutually assured destruction in a nuclear exchange with a foreign power has receded into the background of the last century. The new century has brought on its own terrible dangers, which although not reaching the apocalyptic potential of the Cold War, still have the capacity to shake our world.

In an effort to address the national security needs of America in this new environment, my colleagues Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Rep. David Scott (D-GA) and I have co-founded the Democratic Study Group on National Security. With the support of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, our study group has been meeting with foreign policy and military experts to define and formulate national security policies and objectives, which will keep America safe and free.

There are ten principles of national security which I believe should be a guide to our work and form the basis of our defense in the post Cold War era:

(1) Soldiers: We support our men and women in uniform, our soldiers, our sailors, our marines, our airmen and women, our reservists, our national guard completely and unequivocally. Our soldiers are the foundation of the nation's security and they must have the tools they need to defend themselves and this nation. And when they have done their job, America must look after and honor its veterans.

(2) Strength: We believe that America's military strength is superior in every respect and we are committed to making sure it remains that way. The supremacy of America's military capability is the cornerstone of our security. We must prioritize our nation's threats, taking most prompt action and investing our primary resources in addressing those dangers that are most proximate.

(3) Transformation: We believe that America's military must be transformed to one that is more versatile, more agile, more capable of responding to multiple crises in faraway places, and even more technologically powerful. To accomplish this transformation, strong forces of inertia in all branches of the military will need to be overcome.

(4) Troop Levels: We believe that America's armed forces must not be overextended, that our reserves must not be stretched too thin, that the number of our troops must reflect the number of military commitments we are likely to face and the severity of those commitments. We must either reduce the number of our engagements or increase the number of our troops. As General Shinseki stated so presciently: "Beware the 12-division strategy for a 10-division army."

(5) Intelligence: We believe that in the war on terrorism, top quality human and technological sources of intelligence are essential, and that the reporting of intelligence must be accurate, timely, and properly weighted. The prompt assimilation of that intelligence will be essential if we are to avoid another September 11th.

(6) Vision: We believe that America cannot make itself secure by virtue of its military power alone, that moral authority, integrity, generosity and vision are vital to our peace and prosperity. An America that inspires hope in its ideals must complement an America that inspires awe in its strength. We are a more secure America when we rally the world to our side in a great cause.

(7) Democracy: We believe that our best hope for a secure America rests in the propagation of liberty and democracy around the world, and that every instrument of American influence-diplomatic, military, and economic-should advance the cause of freedom abroad. Democracies are poor breeding grounds for terrorism and war.

(8) Homeland Security: We believe that America must be confident in its strength, vigilant in the defense of the Homeland, supportive of our police and firefighters on the frontline, and jealously protective of the rights of all Americans. We will not let terrorists change our way of life; we will not live in fear; and we will not undermine the civil liberties that characterize our Democracy.

(9) Commerce and Aid: We believe that the free and fair flow of goods and commerce has the capability of lifting countries out of the despair of poverty, and that we must act resolutely to eradicate the economic deprivation which allows the germ of terrorism to spread. Americans are blessed with great plenty; we are a generous people and we have a moral obligation to assist those who are suffering from poverty, disease, war and famine.

(10) World Community: We believe that America lives in an interdependent world of nations made smaller by travel, technology, and the demands of a burgeoning population. America has a critical role to play as the most powerful member of the world community. And in this community, as in all others, the Golden Rule still applies - we must be act toward other nations as we would have them act towards America.

In the months and years ahead, the Democratic Study Group on National Security will work hard to advance these and other principles that are the key to providing for our common defense.

Congressman Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) is a member of the House International Relations Committee and co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security.

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