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Al Gore 2000 On The Issues

Al Gore 2000 On The Issues

DEFENSE

"All my career, I have stood for a strong national defense. America must remain the world's strongest force for peace, freedom, free markets, and an ever-widening circle of human dignity everywhere." - Al Gore

A policy of Forward Engagement requires a strategic vision on how to transform the military to meet the challenges of the Global Era. The Clinton-Gore Administration created the first budget surplus in a generation, which has allowed the U.S. to make necessary investments in our national security. Today, the U.S. has the best-trained, best-equipped, most capable fighting force in the world. Al Gore will continue to strengthen the world's greatest military force by investing in people, deploying the most advanced technology, transforming the force to meet future challenges, and transforming the Pentagon.

INTRODUCTION

A strong national defense is central to protecting America and its interests abroad. Al Gore understands that the U.S. must have a military capability that is second to none - with the resources, technology, and the well-trained, well-equipped manpower to engage in conflicts where America's national interests are at stake. As President, Gore will devote part of our budget surplus to improve the pay and quality-of-life benefits to ensure that the U.S. military continues to recruit the highest caliber personnel; modernize our military equipment and invest in tomorrow's advanced weaponry; and improve the readiness of our troops to confront any conflict in a Global Age. Gore also knows the role that careful diplomacy and arms control can play in strengthening our national security. As President, he will work to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He supports developing the technology for a limited missile defense system to protect all 50 states from a missile attack - without undoing the progress that has been made through arms control with our former rivals. And he will resubmit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - and demand that the Senate ratify this important protection.

INVESTING IN PEOPLE

  • Rewarding the Men and Women in Uniform with Competitive Pay: As President, Al Gore believes that military compensation can remain at competitive levels, and he will take full advantage of such key tools as reenlistment bonuses and specialized pay for special skills to ensure critical people and their skills are retained. Last year, the Administration signed a 4.8% military pay increase - the largest in 20 years. Al Gore supports the Administration's proposed 3.7% across-the-board pay budget increase.
  • Reforming the Military Housing System: As President, Al Gore will invest in ensuring that all military members and families live in adequate, affordable housing. Al Gore will make a priority effort to invest in pilot programs and to extend the current Administration's undertaking to increase and expand housing for military personnel and their families, which will put the private sector to work building, owning, and managing housing for the military.
  • Improving Family Services: Al Gore believes that services for military families must be improved, including upgrading childcare facilities, improving educational opportunities for children, and investing in continuing education and employment services for military spouses.
  • Investing in Health Care: Al Gore is committed to fully funding the military health system and improving the TRICARE managed health program by cutting waiting time and expanding access to aid reimbursement of civilian healthcare providers.
  • Fulfilling the Promise to Take Care of Retirees: Many retirees feel that the government is breaking its promise to provide lifetime healthcare. To begin addressing this problem, Al Gore supports providing paid prescription drug services to over-65 retirees. Al Gore will work to find a comprehensive solution to the problem of health care access for retirees over 65 in a way that meets retirees' expectations without breaking the budget.
  • Getting Our Soldiers Off Food Stamps Now: The number of soldiers and families on food stamps has fallen two-thirds to 6,300 over the past decade, thanks to pay and allowance increases. Although this problem affects only a relatively small number of service men and women, Al Gore is fully committed to making sure that no service member should have to live on food stamps.

DEPLOYING THE MOST ADVANCED DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY

Al Gore believes that our military needs to take the fullest possible advantage of America's technological edge. His Pentagon will fulfill that promise by:

  • Increasing the Investment in Advanced Hardware: Al Gore is committed to investing the resources necessary to ensure that the U.S. stays on the right path to buy the next generation of hardware. He will also make sure that the procurement budget does not "skip a generation," leaving our men and women in uniform holding increasingly obsolete technology.
  • Supporting a Healthy Industrial and Technology Base: As President, Al Gore will draw on the engines of innovation in the private sector and intensify the effort to integrate defense and commercial technology. He will create strong incentives for the defense industry to draw on our commercial technological prowess, and for the best commercial firms to bring their capabilities into the defense market.
  • National Missile Defense: Al Gore supports the development of the technology for a limited national missile defense system that will be able to defend the U.S. against a missile attack from North Korea or Iraq. A decision to deploy such a system should be made based on four criteria: technical feasibility, cost, an evaluation of the threat, and its impact on arms control. Al Gore places a high value on ensuring that any such system is compatible with the fundamental rationale of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. He also supports continued work in significantly reducing strategic and other nuclear weapons, recognizing that the goal is strategic nuclear stability at progressively lower levels.

TRANSFORMING THE ARMED FORCES TO SHAPE AND MEET THE FUTURE

A policy of Forward Engagement requires a strategic vision on how to transform the military to meet the challenges of the Global Era. Although the Pentagon and the Services have begun a transformation to meet future challenges, the next President must decide early in his tenure the reach and pace of that transformation and he must be prepared to intensify the effort. This effort is composed of three central tasks:

  • First Task: Defining a Military Strategy for the Future: Al Gore understands clearly the classic security agenda of "war and peace," as well as the new security agenda our military faces in the 21st century. America must maintain its nuclear strength, with adequate offensive forces to ensure deterrence and to be ready to participate in peacekeeping, humanitarian, and other efforts.
  • Second Task: Develop New Operational Concepts & Organizations for a 21st Century Military Strategy: As President, Al Gore will modernize and transform the armed forces into a versatile "information age" force that fully exploits America's strategic advantages in people and technology and meets the range of international challenges that the U.S. faces in a Global Era.
  • Third Task: Stepping Out Smartly to Transform the Forces for a Forward Engagement Strategy: With his long experience in defense matters, Al Gore will set defense priorities from Day One, providing clear strategic and policy guidance.

TRANSFORMING THE PENTAGON

  • A vision of Forward Engagement and Defense Transformation requires a firm commitment to providing adequate resources for and strong management of America's national security establishment: Al Gore is prepared to make available for defense the resources needed to ensure that service is rewarded and rewarding, that it has the most modern technology and that it is maintained at a high state of readiness.
  • A transformation strategy includes disciplined management at the Pentagon: Through the National Performance Review, Al Gore has laid down the path for thousands of changes in agency operations and management, saving billions of taxpayer dollars. The Pentagon has already made substantial changes in its acquisition processes, streamlined its civilian workforce, reformed its financial management, and modernized defense logistics. The payoff of changing the way the U.S. does its defense business is not only greater efficiency, but the freeing up of resources to put against the broader goal of transforming our forces.

"I would want to draw upon my own experience as an enlisted man in the United States Army. When my wife Tipper and I were first married, we moved into a trailer park in Daleville, Alabama, just outside the gates of Fort Rucker. Often our clothes were blown to the red clay off the clothesline by the helicopters coming in to land right next to the trailer park. We have great memories of wonderful times, but we also have memories of close neighbors who had a bunch of kids and were under stress and had trouble making ends meet. I know what it is like for a spouse to say good-bye when you are deployed overseas and face all the uncertainty that accompanies that. I would want to draw on the experiences that I have, limited though they were, to establish a close bond of understanding with the men and women in uniform." - Al Gore, speaking to the editors of the Armed Force Journal April 5, 2000

INTRODUCTION

  • Al Gore is prepared and experienced for the role of Commander in Chief in a Global Era. Beginning with his own volunteer service in the U.S. Army, Al Gore has spent his entire public service career gaining an in depth understanding of defense issues and building a strong national defense. As Vice-President, he has served on the National Security Council and has been intimately involved in defense and national security planning.
  • America's military is the best-trained, best-equipped, and most prepared fighting force in the world. The United States military is the dominant military force in the world today. Our recent successes demonstrate the dominance of our force: victorious air campaigns in Kosovo and Bosnia; rapid deployments and airstrikes against Iraq; deterrent deployments and forward presence in Asia; peacekeeping missions in the Balkans; and successful humanitarian operations in Central America and Africa. Al Gore knows that our military has done an outstanding job fulfilling all of our national security needs.
  • Since World War II, there have been several build-downs that have strained America military readiness. In contrast, the current Administration's handling of the post-Cold War build-down has yielded a force that, while smaller, is more agile, more powerful, and more effective at countering new strategic threats. Thanks to an economic policy that has yielded budget surpluses, the Administration is now able to invest in renewed growth in defense budgets to cover modernization, readiness, and quality of life.
  • The best managed build-down in American military history can now be matched by a careful investment in further transforming the forces for the challenges of the 21st century and endowing them with the cutting edge technology they will need to succeed in their missions.
  • In an April 30, 2000, speech before the International Press Institute, Al Gore laid out a vision of America's security challenges in a Global Age. In that speech, he identified the classic security threats, as well as the new security challenges posed by information warfare, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the spread of disease, the growing narcotics trade, and other borderless threats. To remedy those new security challenges, Al Gore called for a policy of "forward engagement" -- addressing problems early, before they become crises; addressing them as close to their source as possible; and addressing them with the necessary forces and resources.
  • Forward engagement in the context of National Defense means that our investments in America's military must be consistent with a future-oriented vision of what it will take to win on the information-age battlefield. Al Gore believes we must use the surplus wisely to invest now in people, technology, and the reconfiguration of America's armed forces that will best prepare us for the national security threats in a Global Era. To achieve this, Al Gore believes we must set our sights on 4 key challenges:
    1. Recruiting, training, and retaining a professional all-volunteer force of the highest caliber;
    2. Taking full advantage of America's technological edge by arming our troops with the most advanced weaponry and deploying the most sophisticated intelligence and information systems;
    3. Developing and implementing new military strategy, updating operational concepts, modernizing organizations, and innovating systems -- in short, transforming the armed forces to meet future challenges; and
    4. Continuing to streamline and innovate in the Defense Department, producing more efficient management and releasing resources for critical defense needs.
  • When Should America Use its Military. Al Gore has hands-on experience in thinking through the proper use of military forces in supporting our country's national security strategy. He has defined clear criteria for such decisions, based on the following factors: (1) Is the mission in our national interest; (2) Is military force the only option that can solve the problem; (3) Have we exhausted all other options; (4) Will military force solve the problem; (5) Do we have allies who are ready to share the burden; and (6) Is the mission's cost proportionate to the objective we seek.

INVESTING IN PEOPLE

  • Military contingencies faced in the post-Cold War era require deployment of forces with little or no warning. The readiness of our forces is the key to effectiveness in such contingencies. And the retention of high quality, highly motivated personnel is the key to readiness. Thus, people are the military's most important investment. Al Gore believes that America must recruit, train and retain a professional all-volunteer force of the highest caliber. To accomplish that goal, military service must be both rewarded and rewarding. The sacrifices and burdens of our military personnel and their families must continue to be appreciated and addressed by investing significant resources in providing them with adequate pay, benefits, and quality of life.
  • As President, Al Gore will continue to insist on quality in our armed forces -- focusing our recruitment energies on high school graduates who can handle today's and tomorrow's information-age weapons systems and who have the judgment, commitment and character to meet the challenges of a range of military options, from peacekeeping to high-intensity, high-tech battle.
  • Al Gore believes that smart weapons need smart people to operate and maintain them. As Commander in Chief, he will ensure that the most superior training is provided to our armed services, using technology to enhance realism, and insisting on tough, realistic training as the only way to accomplish missions and insure against unneeded casualties. Committed as he has always been to using the best American know-how, he will put major emphasis on using new training and simulation technologies to keep our men and women in uniform ahead of the curve and well ahead of their adversaries.
  • Al Gore understands that serving in a theater of operations is perhaps the most rewarding experience a soldier, sailor or pilot can have; in the theatre, the forces make a real difference. He also knows that we must plan for reasonable rotations and properly structured forces so those deployments don't wear our forces out. In the case of selected units, the schedule of military deployments overseas -- known as "personnel tempo" or PERSTEMPO -- needs to be properly managed to keep military morale high and ensure the happiness of soldiers and their families alike.
    • Recent experience shows the service members like the challenge of peacekeeping and humanitarian operations -- they see these as real jobs with real contributions. Indeed, the Army has higher than average reenlistment rates in units returning from those deployments. But service members and their families need predictability. Although the Services are making progress on this issue, Al Gore's Pentagon will focus on this problem and make it a top priority.
    • Al Gore also believes we must make better use of the National Guard and Reserve, to more fully integrate their valuable capabilities into peacekeeping and humanitarian relief missions. We must have a strong and effective Guard and Reserve because they play a critical role in our military strategy. At the same time, we must attend to the burdens that more frequent deployments place on those serving in the Guard and Reserve. We must protect their civilian jobs and help meet the needs of their families when they are called to active duty.
  • As President, Al Gore will ensure that military pay and a high quality of life attract young people to serve in the military and give them the incentive to stay, even in a vibrant civilian economy. The economic boom that our country has enjoyed over the last seven years and the explosion of private sector job opportunities have made recruitment more difficult. To ensure the best continue to serve, Al Gore is committed to:
  • Rewarding the Men and Women in Uniform with Competitive Pay. As President, Al Gore believes that military compensation can remain at competitive levels and will take full advantage of such key tools as reenlistment bonuses and specialized pay for special skills to ensure critical people and their skills are retained. The Administration enacted a 4.8% pay increase for men and women in uniform -- the largest military pay increase in almost 20 years. In this year's budget, the Administration is proposing another 3.7% across-the-board pay increase. Al Gore supports this increase.
  • Reforming the Military Housing System. As President, Al Gore will invest in ensuring that all military members and families live in adequate, affordable housing. The current Administration has undertaken the first serious effort to reform the military family housing system, increasing off-base housing allowances, and improving the quality of on-base housing. But even at unprecedented rates of investment in the old housing system, correcting current problems would take decades. It is time to change the approach. Therefore, Al Gore will make a priority effort to invest in pilot programs, which will put the private sector to work building, owning and managing housing for the military.
  • Improving Family Services. Military families provide the support network for our men and women in uniform. Al Gore believes we must improve services for military families, including upgrading childcare facilities, improving educational opportunities for children, and investing in continuing education and employment services for military spouses. We must also take care of families and provide services when their loved ones are deployed.
  • Investing in Health Care. Al Gore is committed to fully funding the military health system and to improving the TRICARE managed health program by cutting waiting time and expanding access to and reimbursement of civilian healthcare providers.
  • Fulfilling the Promise to Take Care of Retirees. Al Gore believes we have a sacred duty to take care of those who protected and defended us. Many retirees feel that the government is breaking its promise to provide lifetime healthcare. To begin addressing this problem, Al Gore supports providing paid prescription drug services to over-65 retirees. Al Gore believes we need to find a comprehensive solution to the problem of health care access for retirees over 65 in a way that meets retirees' expectations without breaking the budget. We need to keep faith with those who have served our country and with those who are now serving; it is the right thing to do, and we will be unable to recruit and retain quality people if we don't keep our promises.
  • Getting Our Soldiers Off Food Stamps Now. The number of soldiers and families on food stamps has fallen two-thirds to 6,300 over the past decade, thanks to pay and allowance increases. Although this problem affects only a relatively small number of service men and women, Al Gore believes that no service member should have to live on food stamps and feels that we need not wait until the next President to find a solution to this problem.

DEPLOYING THE MOST ADVANCED DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY

    Al Gore believes that our military needs to take the fullest possible advantage of America's technological edge. His Pentagon will fulfill that promise by:

  • Increasing the Investment in Advanced Hardware. Al Gore is committed to investing the resources necessary to ensure we stay on the right path to buy the next generation of hardware. He will also make sure that the procurement budget does not "skip a generation," leaving our men and women in uniform holding increasingly obsolete technology. His procurement budget will ensure that the next generation of information-age weapons is in our soldiers' hands in a reliable way, keeping them steadily ahead of potential adversaries. The Administration has already begun to renew the military hardware inventory. Annual procurement budgets have passed the $60 billion mark and are on a path to exceed $70 billion in the next five years. This funding is essential to support the next generation of defense technologies and bring on line new systems to replace the aging ones currently in the U.S. military.
  • Investing in the Generation After Next. Al Gore believes that America's strategic edge is in its technology. He will continue the strongest defense technology investment in the world. He will also take fullest advantage of our economy's strong lead in the most advanced information, communications, surveillance, and reconnaissance technologies to ensure continued battlefield dominance. He is committed to a strong and growing Pentagon investment in the front edge of technology -- the basic research and technology applications that will retain that lead in the future.
  • Supporting a Healthy Industrial and Technology Base. As President, Al Gore will draw on the engines of innovation in the private sector and intensify the effort to integrate defense and commercial technology. He will create strong incentives for the defense industry to draw on our commercial technological prowess, and for the best commercial firms to bring their capabilities into the defense market. The Gore Administration will ensure that the defense industrial and technology base is economically robust in the near-term and has adequate incentives to complete the process of consolidation and rationalization. He will ensure that industry can take fullest advantage of the next generation of technology. He will also work to ensure that, while key American defense technologies remain in our hands, the defense industrial base remains healthy, agile and capable of exploiting the globalized commercial market for technology.

TRANSFORMING THE ARMED FORCES TO SHAPE AND MEET THE FUTURE

  • A policy of "forward engagement" requires a strategic vision on how to transform the military to meet the challenges of the Global Era. Although the Pentagon and the Services have begun a transformation to meet future challenges, the next President must decide early in his tenure the reach and pace of that transformation and he must be prepared to intensify the effort.
  • As President, Al Gore will use the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) in the first few months of the new Administration to set a course for military strategy and to design the force structure needed to carry out his vision of our national security.
  • After eight years of experience, Al Gore will need no on-the-job training to set QDR priorities and ensure it undertakes a sweeping and rapid review, matching our capabilities and commitments to the challenges of the new century. He will put his Defense Department team in place quickly and complete the QDR by June 2001, setting the guidelines for the first Gore defense budget. Al Gore will challenge the Pentagon and the Services to go beyond justifying parochial viewpoints and existing programs to conduct a thorough examination of future requirements and capabilities.
  • As a former member of Congress who helped forge bipartisan consensus on defense needs, Al Gore will take his plan to Congress and build support for it in both parties.
  • First Task: Defining a Military Strategy for the Future. Al Gore understands clearly the classic security agenda of "war and peace," as well as the new security agenda our military faces in the 21st century.
    • America must maintain its nuclear strength, with adequate offensive forces to ensure deterrence.
    • We must be ready to counter and repel cross-border invasions by conventional forces.
    • We also must ensure we can defend ourselves and be confident that our space assets are secure so that we can conduct operations in urban environments, defend our cyberspace, and protect the nation and its forces against such asymmetrical threats as chemical and biological weapons.
    • We must adequately prepare for homeland defense, protecting critical infrastructure, combating terrorism, and developing the technology for a national missile defense system to protect against ballistic missile attacks from rogue states.
    • We must be fully ready for the 21st century peacekeeping and humanitarian missions that are certain to arise in the coming decades.
    • While America's forces should remain capable of dealing with the major regional challenges they could face in the Gulf and Northeast Asia, Al Gore will use the next QDR process to reevaluate requirements, priorities and resulting capabilities in light of the overall responsibilities assigned to our armed forces.
  • Second Task: Develop New Operational Concepts & Organizations for a 21st Century Military Strategy
    • As President, Al Gore will modernize and transform the armed forces into a versatile "information age" force that fully exploits America's strategic advantages in people and technology and meets the range of international challenges we face in a Global Era.
    • Taking advantage of the "Revolution in Military Affairs," Al Gore will give our military an unmatched ability to understand its adversaries and the operating environment; act faster than its adversaries can react; apply controlled but overwhelming violence where it will have the greatest effect; and protect itself and others from conventional and asymmetrical attack -- all in order to accomplish its missions quickly, effectively, and with minimum casualties.
    • Al Gore understands that the best technology is useless unless our military organizations, operational doctrine, and decision-making processes adopt new ways of thinking and habits of operating. "Speed and versatility" do not just apply to force structures and equipment. It also applies to ways of thinking -- the foundation of the knowledge-based force.
    • Al Gore firmly believes that coalition partners will be key to military success. We need to stress interoperability with our allies and develop new approaches to burden sharing and the division of labor. We must engage in selective intelligence sharing, so that we have a common picture of the future battlefield. We must strongly support allied efforts to reshape, modernize and coordinate their own defense capabilities, in order to close the military gap and operate more effectively with our forces. We need to maintain our unique capabilities - strategic airlift, intelligence, logistics - with which we can support operations others lead, as in East Timor.
    • Achieving these goals requires a strong focus on jointness. This includes operational jointness, which our military does well, and the development of joint requirements and systems. Al Gore is ready and willing to lead this joint effort and break through the barriers that have made it difficult.
    • Al Gore understands the importance of moving swiftly to reshape and reorganize America's military forces to maximize their effectiveness in performing the challenging missions of the 21st century while minimizing stress on service members. It is time to move forward with the reorganization of the Air Force into expeditionary groups and to review and strengthen new patterns of Navy and Marine Corps deployment. It is especially urgent to lend full weight to the effort to reshape the Army, with a strong, "middleweight," rapidly deployable capability as the goal. And it is critical to integrate the Reserves and the National Guard into the planning for the new, 21st century missions and challenges.
  • Third Task: Stepping Out Smartly to Transform the Forces for a Forward Engagement Strategy.
    • As any Pentagon leader knows, designing high-impact changes to the defense establishment is the easy part. The difficulty comes in marshalling the strength and resolve to actually implement those changes. To implement the new vision and the forces to carry it out, Al Gore will hit the ground running, making the hard choices early.
    • With his long experience in defense matters, Al Gore will set defense priorities from Day One, providing clear strategic and policy guidance.
    • Al Gore will be ready to add, cancel and reshape defense programs and reorganize structures as necessary to fit the new vision and plan.
    • He will adapt the defense budget plan rapidly to provide adequate and appropriate funding to fit the vision and the plan. The Gore defense budget will give central priority to investing in people, investing in the next generation of technology and ensuring the readiness of the new force.
    • He will carry out this transformation prudently, ensuring the nation can meet existing threats and perform existing missions.

TRANSFORMING THE PENTAGON

  • A vision of Forward Engagement and Defense Transformation requires a firm commitment to providing adequate resources for and strong management of America's national security establishment. Al Gore is prepared to make available for defense the resources needed to ensure that service is rewarded and rewarding, that it has the most modern technology and that it is maintained at a high state of readiness.
  • A transformation strategy includes disciplined management at the Pentagon. Al Gore has led the battle for effective and efficient management in the federal government. Through the National Performance Review, he has laid down the path for thousands of changes in agency operations and management, saving billions of taxpayer dollars. The Pentagon has already made substantial changes in its acquisition processes, streamlined its civilian workforce, reformed its financial management, and modernized defense logistics. The payoff of changing the way we do defense business is not only greater efficiency, but the freeing up of resources to put against the broader goal of transforming our forces. As President, Al Gore will press this process forward by:
    • Carrying out the Revolution in Business Affairs. Al Gore will continue the battle for efficient financial management in the Pentagon. He will streamline and accelerate the investment in information and communications technologies. He will take new steps in the effort to make the fullest possible use of private sector skills and capabilities by outsourcing non-combat defense activities.
    • Rightsizing the Defense Infrastructure. Al Gore will ensure that infrastructure redundancies are eliminated, producing more savings for the required defense investment. The Administration has already achieved significant savings by streamlining the defense infrastructure. This job, too, must continue.

 

Source: Al Gore for President 2000 Web Site

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