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John Kerry On The Issues 2004

John Kerry 2004 On The Issues

Strength & Security For A New World


America was born in pursuit of an idea - that a free people with diverse beliefs can govern themselves in peace.
Throughout our history, we have forged powerful alliances to defend, encourage, and promote that idea around the world. Through two World Wars, the Cold War, the Gulf War and Kosovo, America led instead of going it alone. We respected the world - and the world respected us.

Today, our leadership has walked away from more than a century of American leadership in the world to embrace a new - and dangerously ineffective - American disregard for the world. They bully instead of persuade. They act alone when they could assemble a team. They confuse leadership with going it alone. They fail to understand that real leadership means standing by your principles and rallying others to join you.

John Kerry and John Edwards believe in a better, stronger America - an America that is respected, not just feared. An America that listens and leads - that cherishes freedom, safeguards our people, uplifts others, forges alliances, and deserves respect. This is the America they believe in. This is the America they are fighting for. And this is the America we can be.

Today, we face three great challenges above all others - First, to win the global war against terror; Second, to stop the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; Third, to promote democracy, freedom, and opportunity around the world, starting by winning the peace in Iraq. To meet these challenges, John Kerry's national security policy will be guided by four imperatives:

Launch And Lead A New Era Of Alliances
The threat of terrorism demands alliances on a global scale - to utilize every available resource to get the terrorists before they can strike at us. As president, John Kerry will lead a coalition of the able - because no force on earth is more able than the United States and its allies.

Modernize The World's Most Powerful Military To Meet New Threats
John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to transform the world's most powerful military to better address the modern threats of terrorism and proliferation, while ensuring that we have enough properly trained and equipped troops to meet our enduring strategic and regional missions.

Deploy All That Is In America's Arsenal
The war on terror cannot be won by military might alone. As president, John Kerry will deploy all the forces in America's arsenal - our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, and the appeal of our values and ideas - to make America more secure and prevent a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

Free America From Its Dangerous Dependence On Mideast Oil
To secure our full independence and freedom, we must free America from its dangerous dependence on Mideast oil. By tapping American ingenuity, we can achieve that goal while growing our economy and protecting our environment.

Winning The Peace In Iraq

More than a year ago, President Bush stood on an aircraft carrier under a banner that proclaimed "mission accomplished." But today we know that the mission is not accomplished, hostilities have not ended and our men and women in uniform stand almost alone with the target squarely on their backs.

Our military performed brilliantly in the war's first mission: ending the regime of Saddam Hussein. Today, Americans share a desire for Iraqis to live with the blessings of democracy and security. John Kerry and John Edwards have a practical plan to win the peace in Iraq and bring our troops home.

We must change course in Iraq. Having gone to war, we cannot afford to fail at peace. The United States must take immediate measures to prevent Iraq from becoming a failed state that inevitably would become a haven for terrorists and a destabilizing force in the Middle East.

John Kerry and John Edwards will make the creation of a stable and secure environment in Iraq our immediate priority in order to lay the foundations for sustainable democracy. That is the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home. John Kerry and John Edwards believe the following principles should guide American policy in Iraq right now and that if these steps are not taken, options in the future will become more limited. This needs to be an urgent agenda to:

  • Internationalize, because others must share the burden;

  • Train Iraqis, because they must be responsible for their own security;

  • Move forward with reconstruction because that's an important way to stop the spread of terror; and

  • Help Iraqis achieve a viable government, because it is up to them to run their own country.


After insulting allies and shredding alliances, this President does not have the trust and confidence to bring others to our side in Iraq. But we must rebuild and lead strong alliances so that others will share the burden with us in Iraq and elsewhere.


John Kerry and John Edwards believe the President needs to:

  • Persuade NATO to make the security of Iraq one of its global missions and to deploy a portion of the force needed to secure and win the peace in Iraq.

  • Convene a summit of the world's major powers as well as states in the region, and key Arab and Muslim nations, followed by a standing Contact Group to consult on the way forward, and press them to make good on the steps called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1546: providing troops; providing trainers for Iraq's security forces; providing a special brigade to protect the U.N. mission; and providing more financial assistance and real debt relief. Offer potential troop contributors specific and relatively low-risk but critical roles, such as training Iraqi security personnel and securing Iraq's borders.

  • Give other countries a stake in Iraq's future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq's oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process.


Last February, Secretary Rumsfeld claimed that more than 210,000 Iraqis were in uniform. Two weeks ago, he admitted that claim was off by more than 50 percent. Iraq, he said, now has 95,000 trained security forces. Neither number bears any relationship to the facts. By the administration's own minimal standards, just 5,000 soldiers have been fully trained. And of the 32,000 police now in uniform, not one has completed a 24-week field-training program.

John Kerry and John Edwards believe the President needs to:

  • Provide incentives to improve and accelerate military and police recruitment.

  • Expand urgently the security forces training program inside and outside Iraq by establishing a single, common template for police training and another for military training, and enlisting our NATO allies to open training centers in their countries.

  • Recruit thousands of qualified trainers from our allies, especially those who have no troops in Iraq.
    Strengthen the vetting of Iraqi recruits, double classroom training time, and require follow-on field training.


The Bush administration admitted that its plan was a failure when it asked Congress for permission to radically revise spending priorities in Iraq. It took 17 months for them to understand that security is a priority; 17 months to figure out that boosting oil production is critical; 17 months to conclude that an Iraqi with a job is less likely to shoot at our soldiers. One year ago, the administration asked for and received $18 billion to help the Iraqis and relieve the conditions that contribute to the insurgency. Today, just 5 percent of those funds have actually been spent.

John Kerry and John Edwards believe the President needs to:

  • Internationalize the non-Iraqi reconstruction personnel in Iraq to share the costs and burdens, end the continuing perception of a U.S. occupation, and help coordinate reconstruction efforts, draft the constitution and organize elections.

  • Order U.S. officials to cut through the red tape, reassess the whole reconstruction package and act on high-visibility, quick impact projects on the local level.

  • Work with our allies to forgive Iraq's multi-billion dollar debts.

  • Use more Iraqi contractors and workers, instead of big corporations like Halliburton.

  • Stop paying companies under investigation for fraud or corruption.

  • Fire the civilians in the Pentagon responsible for mismanaging the reconstruction effort.


Credible elections are key to producing an Iraqi government that has the support of the Iraqi people and an assembly to write a Constitution that yields a viable power sharing arrangement. Because Iraqis have no experience holding free and fair elections, the President agreed six months ago that the U.N. must play a central role. Yet today, just four months before Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls, the U.N. Secretary General and administration officials themselves say the elections are in grave doubt because the security situation is so bad. Not a single country has offered troops to protect the U.N. elections mission, and the U.N. has less than 25 percent of the staff it needs in Iraq to get the job done.

John Kerry and John Edwards believe the President needs to:

  • Recruit troops from our friends and allies for a U.N. protection force, and train Iraqis to manage and guard the polling places that need to be opened so that U.S forces do not have to bear that burden alone.

  • Disburse immediately critical funds for election preparations.

  • Convene a regional conference with Iraq's neighbors in order to secure a pledge of respect for Iraq's borders and non-interference in Iraq's internal affairs.

  • Help Iraqis establish a constitutional process for negotiating long-term power sharing arrangements between Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites.

  • Invest in long-term capacity-building and training for political parties and civil society groups.

  • Prioritize training for the legal and judicial sectors.

Strengthening America's Military

John Kerry and John Edwards believe that we must strengthen our military to meet the new threats of the 21st century. Today's American military is the best in the world, but tomorrow's military must be better still - stronger, faster, better armed, and never again stretched so thin. John Kerry and John Edwards will send a clear message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will always be the best-led, best-equipped and most respected fighting force in the world. You will be armed with the right weapons, trained in the right skills, and fully prepared to win on the battlefield. You will never again be sent into harm's way without enough troops for the task or asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace. And you will never be given assignments which have not been clearly defined and for which you are not professionally trained.

John Kerry and John Edwards have a specific plan to transform the world's most powerful military to better address the 21st century threats of terrorism and proliferation, while ensuring that America has enough properly trained and equipped troops to meet our enduring strategic and regional missions.

The Kerry-Edwards plan will:

  • Expand America's Active Duty Forces by 40,000 to relieve the strain on today's military.

  • Double America's Special Forces Capability and increase other specialized personnel to improve America's ability to conduct counter-terrorism operations, perform reconnaissance missions and gather intelligence.

  • Complete the Process of Technological Transformation by ensuring that our military has the most modern equipment and technology available.

  • Transform the National Guard for homeland security by assigning guard units to a standing joint task force that will prepare and execute homeland security strategies with state and federal governments.


New Strategies To Defeat New Threats

The greatest threat facing America in the 21st Century is the possibility of an attack by terrorists armed with a nuclear weapon. The most difficult step for a terrorist to take in making a nuclear weapon is getting highly enriched uranium or plutonium. Unfortunately, there is enough of this material to make literally thousands of nuclear weapons sitting in inadequately secured sites in dozens of countries across the world - some 600 tons of it is in the former Soviet Union alone. We know that al Qaeda is already seeking this material, yet we are not doing enough to keep it out of their hands. In fact, less nuclear weapons material was secured in the two years after 9/11 than in the two years prior.

As president, John Kerry will dramatically reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism by keeping terrorists from getting dangerous weapons or nuclear materials. Today, the pace of efforts to secure these materials is not sufficient given the threat we face. The Kerry-Edwards strategy uses all of our resources and the might of international alliances to (1) safeguard existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials within four years, (2) end production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons, (3) reduce existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons materials, (4) end nuclear weapons programs in nations like North Korea and Iran, (5) enhance international efforts to stop trafficking in nuclear materials, and (6) make preventing nuclear terrorism a major national priority.

Safeguard Existing Nuclear Weapons Materials Worldwide

Under the Kerry-Edwards plan, any material that could be used in a nuclear weapon will be treated like a nuclear weapon. To safeguard all nuclear weapons material within four years, John Kerry will:

  • Accelerate Programs To Secure All Nuclear Weapons and Materials In The Former Soviet Union Within Four Years. By the end of 2003, only 22 per cent of the estimated 600 tons of the vulnerable nuclear material in the former Soviet Union had received comprehensive security upgrades, and only 43 per cent had even had basic, quick-fix upgrades. Yet President Bush has not made securing these vulnerable weapons and materials a priority, allowing summit after summit with Russian President Putin to go by without any action to overcome the bureaucratic obstacles to improving security. At their most recent summit in September 2003, the United States and Russia laid out an agenda for U.S.-Russian cooperation that did not even include the subject of securing nuclear stocks. As a result of this inaction, completing this work will take 13 years if we continue at the current pace. John Kerry will accelerate this work, breaking through the bureaucratic logjams that have hampered progress so that all nuclear weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union will be secured in four years. John Kerry will make this a priority in our relations with Russia by immediately working to develop a strategic plan to secure all these weapons and materials;

  • Complete a Global Cleanout Of Potential Bomb-Making Materials In Four Years. Highly enriched uranium that can be used to create nuclear bombs is still used to fuel over 130 research reactors in more than 40 countries, many with only modest security. John Kerry's plan will remove potential bomb material provided by the Soviet Union and the United States from vulnerable sites outside the former Soviet Union within four years. It took the Bush administration three years to even announce their plan to do this, and by their own schedule it would take a decade to complete it - far too long given the gravity of the threat.

  • Establish Global Standards For Safekeeping Of Nuclear Materials. John Kerry will lead a major multinational effort to establish and enforce an international standard for the safe custody of nuclear weapons and materials. He will expand the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program to provide assistance where necessary for countries to meet this standard. And he will re-establish American leadership in international efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and materials by establishing a Contact Group of nations to work together to implement this and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and materials.

End Production of new Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons

Given the challenge of securing the thousands of nuclear weapons that already exist, the world does not need more nuclear weapons. To end the production of nuclear material for use in nuclear weapons, John Kerry will:

  • Negotiate a Global Ban On Production Of Material For Nuclear Weapons. There is strong international support for a ban on all production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for use in nuclear weapons that would permanently cap the world's nuclear weapons stockpiles. Yet the Bush administration has failed to move forward, keeping this initiative frozen in a lengthy inter-agency review process. As president, John Kerry will immediately ask the members of the U.N. Security Council to formally pledge never again to produce such material for weapons. He will then lead a broad international coalition to verifiably ban production of such materials by any nation.

Reduce Existing Stock of Nuclear Weapons and Materials

In the former Soviet Union alone, there are nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons and enough nuclear material to produce 50,000 more Hiroshima-sized bombs. We must reduce these existing stocks of nuclear weapons and materials, and America must lead by example. To do this, John Kerry will:

  • End Development Of The New Generation Of Nuclear Weapons. The Bush administration is spending millions of dollars developing bunker-busters and mini-nukes, a new generation of more "usable" nuclear weapons. As president, John Kerry will signal to the world that America is serious about stopping proliferation by putting an end to these programs.

  • Accelerate Reductions In U.S. and Russian Nuclear Arsenals. As president, John Kerry will work with the Russians to accelerate the timetable of planned and agreed consolidation and reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

  • Reduce Stocks Of Dangerous Highly Enriched Uranium and Plutonium In Russia. As president, John Kerry will work with the Russians to accelerate the "blending down" of HEU into energy reactor fuel and speed the disposition of plutonium, a process which is now bogged down in a bureaucratic tangle.

End Nuclear Weapons Programs In Hostile States Like North Korea and Iran

We must ensure that hostile states like North Korea and Iran do not have nuclear weapons capabilities and that no nation can use the guise of peaceful energy programs to develop them. To accomplish this goal, John Kerry will:

  • End North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program As a Top Priority. Our goal must be to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program and permanently eliminate its enrichment and reprocessing efforts. All options must remain on the table to accomplish this. Any agreement must have rigorous verification, and must lead to complete and irreversible elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Despite the obvious threat, for eighteen months we have negotiated largely over process while the North Koreans have reportedly made enough new bomb material for 6-9 new nuclear weapons. John Kerry believes we should continue the six party negotiations with the North Koreans, but also be willing to have direct bilateral talks. And we must be prepared to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that addresses the full range of issues of concern to us and our allies.

  • Prevent Iran From Developing Nuclear Weapons. A nuclear armed Iran is an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and our allies in the region. While we have been preoccupied in Iraq, Iran has reportedly been moving ahead with its nuclear program. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and leave the negotiations to the Europeans. It is critical that we work with our allies to resolve these issues and lead a global effort to prevent Iran from obtaining the technology necessary to build nuclear weapons. Iran claims that its nuclear program is only to meet its domestic energy needs. John Kerry's proposal would call their bluff by organizing a group of states to offer Iran the nuclear fuel they need for peaceful purposes and take back the spent fuel so they cannot divert it to build a weapon. If Iran does not accept this offer, their true motivations will be clear. Under the current circumstances, John Kerry believes we should support the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) efforts to discern the full extent of Iran's nuclear program, while pushing Iran to agree to a verifiable and permanent suspension of its enrichment and reprocessing programs. If this process fails, we must lead the effort to ensure that the IAEA takes this issue to the Security Council for action.

  • Strengthen The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As president, John Kerry will strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by closing the loophole that allows countries like Iran and North Korea to develop nuclear weapons capabilities under the guise of a peaceful, civilian nuclear power program. He will work to create a consortium of states that would guarantee fuel supply and removal of spent fuel to states that agree not to have enrichment or reprocessing facilities of their own. At the same time, he will oppose the construction of reprocessing facilities in any countries that do not currently have them. John Kerry will also strengthen the NPT's enforcement and verification mechanisms by making adoption of the Additional Protocol mandatory. And he will work with the IAEA to refocus its mission so that there is an increased emphasis on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons materials.

Enhance International Efforts To Stop Trafficking In Nuclear Materials

The most effective way to prevent nuclear terrorism is to secure weapons and materials at the source. At the same time, we should strengthen our ability to prevent trafficking in bomb making materials and components. To accomplish these goals, John Kerry will:

  • Work With The International Community To Strengthen Nonproliferation Measures. As president, John Kerry will work with every country to toughen export controls, stiffen penalties, and strengthen law enforcement and intelligence sharing so that disasters like the A.Q. Khan network can never happen again. And he will work through the United Nations and international treaties to make trade in the technologies of mass destruction an international crime, like slavery and piracy.

  • Improve The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Only approximately 15 percent of the world's 50,000 large cargo ships are subject to inspection on short notice, and fewer than 20 countries are full participants in the PSI. As president, John Kerry will work with allies to increase participation so that instead of relying on coalitions of the willing, we can create the broader international framework necessary to make such an operation more effective.

Make Preventing Nuclear Terrorism A Top National Security Priority

As president, John Kerry will make preventing nuclear terrorism a top priority. He will:

  • Appoint A Presidential Coordinator To Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. As president, John Kerry will appoint a Presidential Coordinator who will focus exclusively on directing a top line effort to secure all nuclear weapons and materials around the world and prevent a nuclear terrorist attack. This Coordinator will be charged with marshalling all of our resources and making certain that all of the U.S. government's efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and materials are prioritized and integrated into a comprehensive plan.

  • Make Preventing Nuclear Terrorism A Cabinet-Level Priority. As president, John Kerry will instruct the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy to make counter-proliferation efforts a major emphasis of their roles in promoting national security. He will also direct the Secretary of State to make preventing nuclear terrorism a top diplomatic priority.

Defeating Global Terrorism

The most important choices we face are about national security. And the most urgent national security challenge we face is the war against al Qaeda and likeminded terrorists around the world. John Kerry has a comprehensive strategy to win the war on terror and keep America safe.

As president, he will: (1) destroy terrorist networks – by transforming our military and reforming our intelligence services – and prevent them from again taking root in Afghanistan; (2) prevent nuclear terrorism; (3) cut-off sources of terrorist financing; (4) protect the homeland by securing America’s ports, borders, and critical infrastructure, enhancing chemical, nuclear, aviation and rail security, defending against bio-terrorism, and providing our first responders the resources they need; (5) use all elements of our national power to deny new terrorist recruits and havens and prevent terrorists from poisoning minds around the world; (6) support democracies in the Arab and Muslim world; and (7) restore alliances to combat terrorist networks across the globe.

I. DESTROY TERRORIST NETWORKS. John Kerry has a stronger, smarter strategy for destroying the terrorists before they can attack us. He will:

Direct Effective Use of Military Force to Destroy Terrorist Networks. Kerry will use military force to kill terrorists and destroy their networks. He will never cede our national security to any other nation or institution.

Transform the Military to Meet Modern Threats. Kerry will ensure that our military is fully prepared to meet the new security challenges by: (1) expanding our active duty forces by 40,000 soldiers so that we have enough troops to take the fight to the terrorists wherever they are; (2) doubling America’s Special Forces capability and increasing other specialized personnel who are trained and equipped to destroy terrorists; (3) completing the process of technological transformation; (4) redirecting the National Guard to assume homeland security as an additional mission; and (5) keeping faith with our veterans and military families.

Reform our Intelligence Services to Prevent Terrorist Attacks. Kerry will act immediately on the 9-11 Commission recommendations and reform our intelligence services to better prevent terrorist attacks, including: (1) creating a National Intelligence Director with real control over personnel and budgets throughout the intelligence community; (2) reorganizing the intelligence community around issue-oriented task forces to maximize coordination and efficiency in addressing the greatest threats we face; (3) strengthening human intelligence by doubling the CIA’s overseas clandestine personnel; and (4) ensuring an independent domestic intelligence capability within the FBI.

Deny Sanctuary in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has become a forgotten front in the war on terror. Al Qaeda is regrouping and strengthening. Twice as many American soldiers have died in combat so far this year than in all of last year. John Kerry will ensure that America finishes the job we started in Afghanistan, and that the country receives the security, political, and economic resources it needs. He will:

  • Expand NATO Beyond Kabul. As president, Kerry will exercise real leadership by getting NATO to accelerate the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) outside Kabul and commit to sustaining an expansion of its troops beyond the election period.

  • Stop the Drug Trade. Poppy production has exploded over the past three years, fueling continued instability. Afghanistan now accounts for 75% of global opium production. To stop the booming drug trade, Kerry will, among other things, double counter-narcotics assistance and expedite the growth of an Afghan counter-narcotics force whose specific mandate is to track down and destroy Afghanistan’s druglords as well as their drug infrastructure and drug processing facilities.

  • Expedite the Warlord Disarmament and Reintegration Program. The presence of large warlord militias – with as many as 60,000 fighters across the country – is the principle cause of insecurity and a challenge to the authority of the Karzai government. Kerry will provide increased support – including back-up military support where necessary – to crucial disarmament and demobilization efforts.

  • Improve Security Training. Only by strengthening Afghan security capabilities can Afghanistan be truly safe and secure. Kerry will strengthen critical security training initiatives, including bolstering support to the Afghan National Army and national police training programs.

II. PREVENT NUCLEAR TERRORISM. John Kerry believes that preventing nuclear terrorism must be our primary national security priority. He will:

  • Secure and Reduce Nuclear Stockpiles. Kerry’s plan will safeguard existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union within four years, create an international partnership to establish and enforce an international standard for the safe custody of nuclear weapons and materials, safeguard nuclear materials at research reactors around the world, and reduce existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials.

  • Institute a Verifiable Global Ban on the Production of New Bomb Making Materials. A Kerry administration will end production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons through a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty with real verification mechanisms.

  • Lead an International Effort to End Nuclear Weapons Programs in North Korea and Iran.

North Korea: While the administration has made no meaningful progress in negotiations over the past 18 months, North Korea has reportedly quadrupled its nuclear weapons capability. Kerry will work with our allies to reduce tensions and get the six-party talks with North Korea back on track. He will also be prepared to talk directly with the North Koreans because we should speak for ourselves when our security is at stake. And he will ensure that any final agreement leads to the verifiable and irreversible elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and addresses the full range of issues of concern to us and our allies.

Iran: For far too long, the Bush Administration has sat on the sidelines while Iran has advanced its nuclear program. America needs to lead because a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable. John Kerry will make clear to Iran that America will lead an international effort to push for tough measures, including sanctions, if Iran does not comply with the IAEA resolution by permanently suspending its uranium enrichment program and provide verifiable assurances that it is not trying to develop nuclear weapons.

  • Strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). As president, Kerry will work to close the loophole in the NPT that allows countries to develop nuclear weapons capabilities under the guise of a civilian nuclear power program, and make adoption of the additional inspection protocol mandatory.

III. CUT-OFF TERRORIST FINANCING. From his experience leading the Senate’s BCCI investigation, John Kerry understands the importance of stopping the flow of illicit funds to terrorists. He will: (1) impose financial sanctions against any bank that fails to cooperate in the effort to control money laundering, and, if needed, against nations; (2) work with our allies and the World Bank and international financial institutions to shut down the financial pipeline to terrorists; (3) speak openly and plainly about Saudi shortcomings, and get tough with them when it comes to allowing financing of terrorism and spreading an anti-American ideology – there will be no sacred cows when it comes to protecting America; and (4) pursue a plan to make America independent of Mideast oil so that we can rely on our own innovation and ingenuity.

IV. PROTECT THE HOMELAND. Americans deserve a stronger homeland security strategy that protects us from the threats we face. Kerry’s comprehensive strategy addresses the critical security gaps that continue to remain after 4 years of ineffective leadership by George W. Bush.

  • Secure America’s Ports and Borders. Currently, the United States inspects only about 5% of the containers coming into our country. John Kerry supports a six-fold increase in critical initiatives to inspect cargo overseas and to subject companies that do not meet minimum security standards themselves to tougher inspection. Currently, these programs are woefully under-funded and do not impose adequate barriers to terrorists seeking to attack America. He will work with our allies in Canada and Mexico as well as our other trade partners to coordinate our personnel and technology to create the Smart Borders necessary to keep commerce flowing while keeping terrorists out. And a Kerry administration will ensure that we create a single, effective, and integrated terrorist watch list that is accessible to everyone who needs it, including agents along our borders and the cops on our streets.

  • Enhance Aviation. Kerry will implement explosives screening for airplane passengers and obtain the equipment needed to screen air cargo just as we screen passenger baggage. To achieve these goals, he will triple the current level of investment in the purchase and installation of explosive detection screening equipment. He will also ensure that our airports have the trained staff necessary to provide the strong and smarter security America deserves.

  • Expand Rail and Subway Security. As president, John Kerry will make new investments of more than $2 billion to protect our mass transit systems and improve the security of our rail systems, including the purchase of more surveillance equipment and better fencing for high-risk areas.

  • Secure America’s Chemical Plants and Other Critical Infrastructure. John Kerry will require chemical plants to develop and implement security plans, including measures to use less dangerous chemicals where that is feasible. Kerry will ensure security at our nuclear plants, including adequate fencing and surveillance, as well as armed, trained, and competent security forces. Because 85% of our critical infrastructure is owned by the private sector, Kerry will lead the effort to establish the public-private partnerships necessary to devise security precautions that make sense.

  • Defend against Bio-terrorism. Kerry will: (1) make the investments America’s public health system needs to detect bioterrorist threats to our communities, and that our hospitals and emergency rooms need to contain bioterrorism; (2) improve the capability for our health system to develop and implement distribution plans for vaccines; (3) lead efforts to increase and improve our stockpiles of medicines; and (4) expedite development of new vaccines.

  • Provide our First Responders the Resources they Need. America’s first responders need the equipment and manpower to do the job right. Our local officials shouldn’t have to choose between security and public education – we can do better. To make our homeland security strategy more efficient, Kerry will bring the people on the front lines together to design the standard capabilities needed to respond to a terrorist attack. And he will work to get federal dollars to communities faster and more efficiently.

V. DENY TERRORISTS SAFE HAVENS AND NEW RECRUITS. John Kerry knows that to win the war on terror, America must use all elements of national power to deny terrorists new havens and recruits and prevent terrorists from poisoning minds around the world. America must show that we are willing to use our economic power for the common good; to defeat abject poverty and disease that destroy lives and create failed states in every part of the world.

Work to Prevent Weak and Failing States from Becoming Terrorist Havens. Kerry will work with our allies and the international community to develop comprehensive strategies to strengthen weak states and secure and rebuild failed states around the world.

  • Strategically Target Assistance to Weak and Failed States. As president, Kerry will provide strategically focused assistance to weak and failed states to help them build democratic institutions, better secure their territories, and achieve broad-based economic development. Kerry will help them increase their capacity to meet the needs of their citizens for decent, basic education, basic health and disease prevention services and support the development of small and medium-size enterprises.

  • Develop Rapid Response Capacity. John Kerry will develop an enlarged country-in-transition fund to enable the U.S. government to respond swiftly to crises and opportunities in weak and failed states. With our allies, we will also support initiatives to increase the capacity of developing countries and regional organizations such as the African Union and ASEAN to respond rapidly with peacekeeping force to prevent and resolve conflicts. The United States must provide the leadership needed for this effort to really succeed.

  • Refocus Diplomatic, Intelligence and Other Assets on Failed States. The 2002 National Security Strategy stated: “America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones.” Yet the Bush administration’s distribution of our diplomatic, intelligence and other assets does not reflect that. A Kerry administration will ensure that America has the best intelligence possible on weak and failed states.

  • Share Burden with Allies and International Community. America cannot bear the burden of strengthening weak states and securing and rebuilding failed states around the world alone – our allies, regional powers and international institutions must also do their share. Kerry will rebuild our alliances and bring others in the international community together to address the risks that failed states pose to people all over the world.

  • Lead a Global Education Initiative. Under a new Global Education Initiative, America will lead the world to provide universal basic education by 2015. It is critical that we not only seek to empower reformers to achieve quality public education through the Arab and Muslim world – where a lack of funding has helped foster radical schools that teach hate – but that we also support a global effort for free universal education throughout Africa and the developing world. Increasing education in poor nations – especially for girls – has been shown to be extremely effective in raising incomes, reducing infant mortality and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

  • Cancel the Debt of the World’s Poorest Countries. John Kerry supports wiping clean the debts of the world’s most heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) that are reforming their economies and investing in their human capital. Debt relief will give them a fresh start to invest in health, education, and infrastructure. And Kerry will direct his Secretary of the Treasury to initiate negotiations with the Paris Club of Official Creditors, the World Bank, the IMF, and others with the goal of modifying the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative to provide substantially greater debt reduction to a broader set of poor countries. Kerry understands that debt cancellation should not come at the expense of future foreign aid flows to poor countries.

  • Address Global Health Priorities. Epidemics can decimate societies and contribute to weak and failed states, which can become safe havens and recruiting grounds for terrorists and other criminal elements. John Kerry will invest more in health care infrastructure in weak and failing states, and dedicate greater attention and increased resources to training health care professionals and community health care workers. As president, Kerry will double the U.S. funding to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to $30 billion by 2008 and encourage other countries, corporations and foundations to do their share. And in a Kerry administration, global health policy will be driven by science instead of ideology.

VI. SUPPORT DEMOCRACIES IN THE ARAB AND MUSLIM WORLD. We must support the development of free and democratic societies in the Arab and Muslim world to win the war of ideas. While countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, have at times helped us in the hunt for individual terrorists, they have not always been good allies in turning back the terrorists’ cause. In a Kerry administration, America will be clear with repressive governments in the region that we expect to see them change, not just for our sake but for their own survival. And Kerry will restore America’s moral authority by leading by example and by promoting respect for the rule of law.

  • Launch a Major Public Diplomacy Initiative. Kerry will lead a major initiative in public diplomacy to train a new generation of American scholars, diplomats, military officers, and democracy builders who understand the Arab and Muslim world, just as we built our knowledge of the Soviet empire during the Cold War. And Kerry will open diplomatic posts and invest in academic programs, scholarships and exchanges with the Muslim world so we can build better bridges and craft more effective policies.

  • Convene a Summit to Increase Mutual Cooperation. As president, John Kerry will convene – and attend – a summit with European partners and leaders from the Muslim world to discuss how we can collectively work together to establish new programs aimed at increasing mutual understanding, economic growth, and the fight against terror.

VII. RESTORE ALLIANCES TO COMBAT TERRORIST NETWORKS ACROSS THE GLOBE. Kerry will ensure that America always remains the world’s paramount military power. He will also restore alliances to magnify our power, and increase intelligence and law enforcement coordination so that we can stop terrorists hidden around the world before they can strike at us.

A New Military To Meet New Threats

Today, our military is overextended and our troops are overburdened. John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to transform the world's most powerful military to better address the modern threats of terrorism and proliferation, while ensuring that we have enough properly trained and equipped troops to meet our enduring strategic and regional missions. To accomplish this, they will (1) expand our active duty forces, (2) double America's Special Forces capability and increase other specialized personnel, (3) complete the process of technological and educational transformation, (4) redirect the National Guard for homeland security, and (5) enact a Military Family Bill of Rights to relieve the burden on military families.

Expand America's Active Duty Forces

As president, John Kerry will ensure that our military has sufficient troop strength to protect our national security without placing an undue burden on the men and women of our armed forces. He will:

  • Add 40,000 Troops To The Active Duty Army To Prevent And Prepare For Other Possible Conflicts (not to increase the overall number of soldiers in Iraq). Currently, eight of the Army's ten active duty combat divisions are either in Iraq, preparing to go to Iraq, or recently returned from Iraq. While only a third of the Army would typically be deployed at any one time, under current deployment schedules 31 of our 33 active duty combat brigades will have been deployed by the summer of 2004. The Bush administration is relying on temporary solutions including "Stop Loss" orders, recalling the Individual Ready Reserve and extending tours to meet our commitments. These temporary measures have increased the burden on our troops and their families without addressing the underlying reality: we need more troops.

  • Streamline Various Large Weapons Programs, emphasizing electronics, advanced sensors and munitions in a "systems of systems" approach to transformation, reducing total expenditures on missile defense, and further reforming the acquisition process, this proposal can be made budget neutral.

Double America's Special Forces Capability and Increase Other Specialized Personnel

John Kerry and John Edwards recognize the critical role that the Special Forces and other specialized personnel play in America's military. Today we rely on these forces more and more to meet the new threats we face. As president, John Kerry's plan will strengthen our force structure. He will:

  • Double The Army's Special Forces Capability By The End Of His First Term. As part of the 40,000 new troops, John Kerry will double overall Special Forces capabilities in his first four years as president. His plan calls for adding 3,500 active duty and 1,400 reserve Special Forces personnel. This will effectively double the number of Special Forces available to perform overseas operations, including missions with foreign forces such as the anti-Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The Special Forces units will also by be manned at 115 percent, enabling extended absences for individual long-term language and cultural training. This over-strength will also allow for surge-capacity in times of crisis.

  • Add A Special Operations Helicopter Squadron To The Air Force. As president, John Kerry will add a second special operations helicopter squadron to the Air Force, enabling Army forces to better complete their missions.

  • Increase Active-Duty and Reserve Civil Affairs Personnel. As president, John Kerry will increase by 1,200 the number of civil affairs personnel - 200 active-duty and 1,000 reserves. Today's missions are increasingly dependent on civil affairs personnel, including judges, physicians, bankers, health inspectors, fire chiefs, and so forth - the very skills that are needed in post-conflict situations. Active-duty civil affairs personnel provide "quick fix" support until the appropriate specialist teams from the reserves can be activated and deployed. John Kerry's plan represents a 50 percent increase in active-duty civil affairs personnel, and a 20 percent increase in reserve personnel.

  • Increase Active-Duty Psychological Operations Personnel. Today, 70 percent of our psychological operations (PSYOP) personnel are Reservists. As president, John Kerry will add 500 active duty personnel to the 4th PSYOP Group, the only PSYOP Group in the Army. This will round out regionally focused battalions, reduce the burden on Reservists, and provide increased opportunities for language training.

Complete The Process of Technological and Educational Transformation

John Kerry and John Edwards are committed to building an American military that leverages technology and military education across the spectrum of conflict, for every mission performed by the active duty, National Guard or Reserve. To advance this transformation, John Kerry will:

  • Invest In The Right Technologies. As president, John Kerry will focus defense investment in those capabilities vital to waging war successfully in the 21st Century. These include:

    • Advanced communications and information technologies, which will be vital to the full range of military capabilities
      Sensing and control technologies that will provide the foundation for effective operation of unmanned, even robotic systems

    • Precision weapons, including directed energy weapons that can produce lethal and non-lethal effects

    • Data fusion technologies that will enable our military to act more decisively with enhanced situational awareness and greatly improved intelligence assessments

  • Focus On New And Existing Challenges. As president, John Kerry will create more digital divisions, harness the power of "network centric" warfare, and improve tactical communications crucial to future military success whether the next enemy is a terrorist, an outlaw regime or a would-be peer competitor. He will also invest in new, non-lethal technologies - like directed energy weapons that can incapacitate the enemy without risking the lives of innocent bystanders - for use in urban combat and stability operations so that America's forces are equipped to win the peace as well as the war.

  • Improve Counter-Proliferation Capabilities. As president, John Kerry will strengthen counter-proliferation capabilities to deter, defend and protect the United States and its allies against weapons of mass destruction. He will create new counter-proliferation units that specialize in finding and destroying the most dangerous weapons before they can be used against us. These special units will be trained, equipped and prepared to intercept and disable nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and secure any related facilities. With these capabilities, future presidents will have practical, usable military capabilities against weapons of mass destruction rather than depending on new nuclear weapons.

  • Educate And Train Our Forces For The 21st Century. As president, John Kerry will make sure our troops are prepared for the tasks required of them by ensuring that all aspects of education and training - including basic training, weapons training, combat simulations and professional military education - are fully supported.

Transform The National Guard for Homeland Security

As president, John Kerry will integrate the National Guard into our broader homeland security strategy. To accomplish this goal, he will:

  • Make Homeland Security a Primary Mission Of The National Guard. Today, more than 165,000 Guard and Reserve troops are on active duty. About forty percent of our forces in Iraq are from the Guard and Reserve. Some have been on the ground in Iraq for as many as 15 months - much longer than was expected or promised. Large deployments of Guard members to Iraq have actually weakened local defenses because so many members of the Guard are first responders in their communities - fire fighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians.

  • Giving The Guard The Clear Mission Of Using These Critical Skills For Homeland Security. As president, John Kerry will assign National Guard units to a standing joint task force, commanded by a National Guard General. This task force will create and - if necessary - execute a coordinated strategy to protect our homeland, working with the states and the federal government to respond in times of crisis. Apportioned Guard forces would retain a valid combat capability, but would be rolled into missions that are needed to support homeland security, including intelligence, first responder security, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear missions.


Relieve The Burden On Our Military Families

John Kerry and John Edwards believe that the need to keep faith with our troops extends to their families. The Kerry-Edwards Military Family Bill of Rights will provide military families with competitive pay, good housing, decent health care, quality education for their children, first rate training and the best possible weaponry, armor and state-of-the-art equipment. The Military Family Bill of Rights will also provide assistance to families affected by extended deployments, or injury or death in the line of duty. And military families will receive the best possible information on deployments and responsive government support after their military service is completed.


Source: John Kerry for President 2004 Web Site

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