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Issue Position: Department of Peace

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

The first time I heard the idea of a Department of Peace a light clicked on in my head. It is so obvious but never considered. Why should we sink hundreds of billions of dollars into defense (or offense) annually, a program that is based in military action and dealing with problems reactively. We need a strong defense to protect America, but funding a military-industrial complex works against domestic stability and international harmony.

As President Eisenhower mentioned in his "Chance of Peace" speech, the true cost of war is a loss of investment in human capital. The United States of America spends roughly half of all the money spent on military activities across the planet. In other words, U.S. military expenditures are equivalent to those of the rest of rest of the industrialized world combined. Global military spending was $1.4 trillion in 2008, and the U.S. portion was $711 billion. And this spending represents over 50% of U.S. discretionary spending.

We need to start investing in lasting, peaceful relationships, not relationships based in fear of funding losses or military force.

International violence

* Nuclear proliferation creates critical need for the interruption of current cycles of violence
* Nuclear arsenals -- those both friendly and hostile to the United States -- are susceptible to terrorist attack or theft

Domestic violence

* Criminal and domestic violence places intense financial pressure on city, county, and state government budgets
* Example: 80% of all police runs in the City of Detroit are in response to domestic violence

Addressing Causal Issues

* Current policy-making tends toward reactive, not proactive approaches to violence reduction
* Traditional political problem-solving focuses primarily on addressing symptoms of violence, such as imprisonment of offenders and engagement in armed conflict
* Suppression of symptoms should be augmented by stronger preventative measures and treatment of root causes of violence
* The United States should be as effective in addressing the sources of violence as we are effective in addressing its symptoms

We Need a Department of Peace that:

* To reduce domestic and international violence
* To gather and coordinate information and recommendations from America's peace community
* To teach violence prevention and mediation to America's school children
* To effectively treat and dismantle gang psychology
* To rehabilitate the prison population
* To build peace-making efforts among conflicting cultures both here and abroad
* To support our military with complementary approaches to ending violence

Proposed Federal Legislation to Establish a U.S. Department of Peace

Bills were introduced into the U. S. House of Representatives during the 107th, 108th, 109th and now the 110th Congress. Current bill number is (H.R. 808). Click here to see current co-sponsors. Proposed legislation calls for the Department's budget to be the equivalent of 2% of U.S. defense budget.

The Benefits: International

The Department of Peace will advise the President, the Secretaries of Defense and State, and others on root causes of violence, plus practical ways to dismantle violence while still in a formative phase.

The Department will support the military by:

* Providing cultural, ethnic and psychologically insightful information, education and technology.
* Offering practical skills (conflict resolution techniques, and the like) for the amelioration of violence among adversarial factions.
* Administer the training and support of civilian peacekeepers to participate in multinational nonviolent peace forces.

The Benefits: Domestic

* Develop field-tested educational programs promoting conflict-resolution and peer mediation among school-age children.
* Provide violence-prevention programs addressing domestic violence, gang violence, drug and alcohol-related violence, and the like.
* Provide much-needed assistance for the efforts of city, county, and state governments in coordinating existing programs in their own communities, as well as programs newly developed and provided by the Dept. of Peace.

Responsibilities of the Secretary of Peace

In addition to leading the Department, the Secretary shall:

* Provide the President with statistically-verified recommendations on how a specific policy either increases or diminishes the prospect of domestic and international peace.
* Provide the President with recommendations regarding the social and financial impact of domestic and international policies.

A U.S. Peace Academy

* The Department of Peace will create and administer a U.S. Peace Academy, acting as a sister organization to the U.S. Military Academy.
* The Academy will research and teach the most cutting-edge techniques for the amelioration of violence among domestic and international populations.
* The Peace Academy will join the Military Academy in providing assistance to the military in international conflict-resolution.
* The Peace Academy faculty will be derived from well-established practitioners known for best practices in the field of conflict reduction and resolution.

Growing support

Grassroots efforts support the Department of Peace Legislation and activist groups exist in all 50 states and over 280 Congressional Districts! For more information go to

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