“We are here to do the work that ensures no other family members have to lose a loved one to a terrorist who turns a plane into a missile, a terrorist who straps a bomb around her waist and climbs aboard a bus, a terrorist who figures out how to set off a dirty bomb in one of our cities. This is why we are here: to make our country safer and make sure the nearly 3,000 who were taken from us did not die in vain; that their legacy will be a more safe and secure Nation.”
– Obama Speech on U.S. Senate Floor, March 6, 2007
Conventional thinking has failed to adapt to a world of new threats. Barack Obama and Joe Biden understand that a range of risks, both natural and manmade, can have major consequences for the security, prosperity, and well-being of Americans at home and abroad. We need a president who understands these new security threats – and who has effective strategies for addressing them.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s PlanThe first responsibility of any president is to protect the American people. Yet, seven years after the 9/11 attacks, we are not as safe as we can and should be. As president, Barack Obama will provide the leadership and strategies to strengthen our security at home.
Barack Obama’s strategy for securing the homeland against 21st century threats is focused on preventing terrorist attacks on our homeland, preparing and planning for emergencies and natural disasters and investing in strong response and recovery capabilities. As president, Barack Obama will strengthen our homeland against natural or accidental disasters and terrorist threats – ensuring the federal government works with states, localities, and the private sector as a true partner in prevention, mitigation, and response.
Defeat Terrorism Worldwide
Find, Disrupt, and Destroy Al Qaeda: Obama will responsibly end the war in Iraq and focus on the right battlefield in Afghanistan. An Obama Administration will work with other nations to strengthen their capacity to eliminate shared enemies.
New Capabilities to Aggressively Defeat Terrorists: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will improve the American intelligence apparatus by investing in its capacity to collect and analyze information, share information with other agencies and carry out operations to disrupt terrorist operations and networks.
Prepare the Military to Meet 21st Century Threats: Barack Obama will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a threat to America. Obama will ensure that our military becomes more stealthy, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. He will bolster our military’s ability to speak different languages, navigate different cultures, and coordinate complex missions with our civilian agencies.
Win the Battle of Ideas: An Obama Administration will defeat al Qaeda in what the 9-11 Commission called “the Battle of Ideas” by returning to an American foreign policy consistent with America’s traditional values and by working with moderates within the Islamic world to counter al Qaeda propaganda. Barack Obama will establish a $2 billion Global Education Fund to work to eliminate the global education deficit and offer an alternative to extremist schools.
Restore American Influence and Restore Our Values: Thwarting terrorist networks requires international partnerships in military, intelligence, law enforcement, financial transactions, border controls, and transportation security. To make diplomacy more effective, Obama will stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world. He will expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military.
Prevent Nuclear TerrorismBarack Obama and Joe Biden have a comprehensive strategy for nuclear security that will reduce the danger of nuclear terrorism, prevent the spread of nuclear weapons capabilities, and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
Secure Nuclear Weapons Materials in Four Years and End Nuclear Smuggling: Barack Obama will lead a global effort to secure all nuclear weapons materials at vulnerable sites within four years – the most effective way to prevent terrorists from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Barack Obama will fully implement the Lugar-Obama legislation to help our allies detect and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction.
Strengthen Policing and Interdiction Efforts: Barack Obama will institutionalize the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a global initiative aimed at stopping shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials worldwide.
Convene a Summit on Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Barack Obama will convene a summit in 2009 (and regularly thereafter) of leaders of Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and other key countries to agree on implementing many of these measures on a global basis.
Eliminate Iran’s and North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Programs Through Tough, Direct Diplomacy: Barack Obama will use tough diplomacy – backed by real incentives and real pressures – to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to eliminate fully and verifiably North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): Barack Obama will seek to ensure that the Agency gets the authority, information, people, and technology it needs to do its job.
Control Fissile Materials: Barack Obama will lead a global effort to negotiate a verifiable treaty ending the production of fissile materials for weapons purposes.
Prevent Nuclear Fuel from Becoming Nuclear Bombs: Barack Obama will work with other interested governments to establish a new international nuclear energy architecture – including an international nuclear fuel bank, international nuclear fuel cycle centers, and reliable fuel supply assurances – to meet growing demands for nuclear power without contributing to the proliferation of nuclear materials and fuel production facilities.
Set the Goal of a Nuclear-Free World: Barack Obama will show the world that America believes in its existing commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to work to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons. Barack Obama fully supports reaffirming this goal, as called for by George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and Sam Nunn, and the specific steps they propose to move us in that direction. He has made clear that America will not disarm unilaterally.
Seek Real, Verifiable Reductions in Nuclear Stockpiles: Barack Obama will seek deep, verifiable reductions in all U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons and work with other nuclear powers to reduce global stockpiles dramatically by the end of his presidency.
Work with Russia to Increase Warning and Decision Time: Keeping nuclear weapons ready to launch on a moment’s notice is a dangerous relic of the Cold War. Barack Obama believes that we must address this dangerous situation. As president, Barack Obama will aim to work with Russia to end such Cold War policies in a mutual and verifiable manner.
Appoint White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security: Barack Obama will appoint a deputy national security advisor to be in charge of coordinating all U.S. programs aimed at reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism and weapons proliferation.
Strengthen Nuclear Risk Reduction Work at Defense, State, and Energy Departments: Thwarting terrorist networks requires international partnerships in military, intelligence, law enforcement, financial transactions, border controls, and transportation security. To make diplomacy more effective, Obama will stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world. He will expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military.
Strengthen American BiosecurityBiological weapons pose a serious and increasing national security risk. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work to prevent bioterror attacks and mitigate consequences.
Prevent Bioterror Attacks: Obama and Joe Biden will strengthen U.S. intelligence collection overseas to identify and interdict would-be bioterrorists before they strike.
Build Capacity to Mitigate the Consequences of Bioterror Attacks: A well-planned, well-rehearsed, and rapidly executed epidemic response can dramatically diminish the consequences of biological attacks. Barack Obama will ensure that decision-makers have the information and communication tools they need to manage disease outbreaks by linking health care providers, hospitals, and public health agencies.
Accelerate the Development of New Medicines, Vaccines, and Production Capabilities: Barack Obama will build on America’s unparalleled talent to create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests and to manufacture these vital products much more quickly and efficiently than is now possible.
Lead an International Effort to Diminish Impact of Major Infectious Disease Epidemics: Senator Obama was one of the first legislators to recognize the dangers of a potential avian influenza pandemic and was successful in securing $25 million for U.S. agencies to combat and contain widespread outbreaks of avian flu and worked to provide $4 billion in funding to the Centers for Disease Control to combat avian flu. Barack Obama will continue to promote international efforts to develop new diagnostics, vaccines, and medicines that will be available and affordable in all parts of the world.
Protect Our Information NetworksAs president, Barack Obama will lead an effort, working with private industry, the research community and our citizens, to build a trustworthy and accountable cyber infrastructure that is resilient, protects America’s competitive advantage, and advances our national and homeland security.
Strengthen Federal Leadership on Cyber Security: Barack Obama will declare the cyber infrastructure a strategic asset and will establish the position of national cyber advisor who will report directly to the president and will be responsible for coordinating federal agency efforts and development of national cyber policy.
Initiate a Safe Computing R&D Effort and Harden our Nation’s Cyber Infrastructure: Barack Obama will support an initiative to develop next-generation secure computers and networking for national security applications. He will work with industry and academia to develop and deploy a new generation of secure hardware and software for our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure.
Protect the IT Infrastructure That Keeps America’s Economy Safe: The public and private infrastructure that keeps America running is increasingly brought online to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Barack Obama will work with the private sector to establish tough new standards for cyber security and physical resilience for critical infrastructure.
Prevent Corporate Cyber-Espionage: Innovations in software, engineering, pharmaceuticals and other fields are being stolen online from U.S. businesses at an alarming rate. These losses are making America less safe and less competitive and costing us jobs here at home. Barack Obama will work with industry to develop the systems necessary to protect our nation’s trade secrets and our research and development.
Develop a Cyber Crime Strategy to Minimize the Opportunities for Criminal Profit: Barack Obama will shut down the mechanisms used to transmit criminal profits by shutting down untraceable Internet payment schemes. Barack Obama will also initiate a grant and training program to provide federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to detect and prosecute cyber crime.
Mandate Standards for Securing Personal Data and Require Companies to Disclose Personal Information Data Breaches: Nearly 10 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year, costing more than $55 billion. We must ensure that the privacy of personnel data in computer systems is better protected. The federal government must partner with industry and our citizens to secure personal data stored on government and private systems. An Obama administration will institute a common standard for securing such data across industries and will back strong legislation to protect the rights of individuals in the information age.
Improve Intelligence Capacity and Protect Civil Liberties
Improve Information Sharing and Analysis: Barack Obama will improve our intelligence system by creating a senior position to coordinate domestic intelligence gathering; establishing a grant program to support thousands more state and local level intelligence analysts and increasing our capacity to share intelligence across all levels of government.
Give Real Authority to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board: Created by Congress and recommended by the 9/11 Commission, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board needs to be substantially reformed and empowered to safeguard against an erosion in American civil liberties. As president, Barack Obama will support efforts to strengthen the Board with subpoena powers and reporting responsibilities, will give the Board a robust mandate designed to protect American civil liberties and will demand transparency from the Board to ensure accountability.
Strengthen Institutions to Fight Terrorism: Overseas, Barack Obama will establish a Shared Security Partnership Program to invest $5 billion over three years to improve cooperation between U.S. and foreign intelligence and law enforcement agencies. This program will include information sharing, as well as funding for training, operations, border security, anti-corruption programs, technology, and the targeting of terrorist financing.
Protect Americans from Terrorist Attacks and Natural Disasters
Allocate Funds Based on Risk: Barack Obama believes that the President and Congress should allocate our precious homeland security dollars according to risk, not as pork-barrel spending or a form of general revenue sharing. He will eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse that cost the nation billions of Department of Homeland Security dollars.
Prepare Effective Emergency Response Plans: Obama passed legislation to provide funding for planning for evacuating individuals with special needs from emergency zones and to create a National Family Locator System to help families locate loved ones after a disaster. As president, Obama will further improve coordination between all levels of government, create better evacuation plan guidelines, ensure prompt federal assistance to emergency zones, and increase medical surge capacity.
Support First Responders: Barack Obama is committed not only to rolling back the Bush-McCain funding cuts that have affected our first responders – police, firefighters, and emergency medical professionals – but also to increasing federal resources and logistic support to local emergency planning efforts.
Improve Interoperable Communications Systems: Barack Obama supports efforts to provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and dramatically increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems. He will appoint a National Chief Technology Officer who will have the responsibility to ensure that the current non-interoperable plans at the federal, state, and local levels are combined, funded, implemented and effective.
Working with State and Local Governments and the Private Sector: Barack Obama believes the federal government must be a better partner to states and localities, listen to local concerns and consider local priorities. Barack Obama will reach out to the private sector to leverage its expertise and assets to protect our homeland security.
Protect Critical Infrastructure
Create a National Infrastructure Protection Plan: Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security will develop an effective critical infrastructure protection and resiliency plan for the nation and will work with the private sector to ensure that targets are protected against both natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
Secure our Chemical Plants: Chemical plants are potential terrorist targets because they are often located near cities, are relatively easy to attack, and contain multi-ton quantities of hazardous chemicals. As president, Barack Obama will work with all stakeholders to enact permanent federal chemical security regulations.
Improve Airline Security: Barack Obama believes we must redouble our efforts to determine if the measures implemented since 9/11 are adequately addressing the threats our nation continues to face from airplane-based terrorism. Airline passengers are still not screened against a comprehensive terrorist watch list. Such a list must be developed and used in a way that safeguards passengers’ privacy while ensuring the safety of air travel.
Monitor our Ports: Barack Obama has been a consistent supporter of strengthening our port security, will redouble our efforts to develop technology that can detect radiation and determine the danger it poses, and he will work with the maritime transportation industry to integrate this technology into their operations so as to maximize security without causing economic disruption.
Safeguard Public Transportation: Every weekday, Americans take 34 million trips on public transportation systems to get to work, school and beyond. Despite recent international attacks on mass transit systems, the Bush administration has invested only a small fraction of the $6 billion that transportation officials have said is necessary to implement needed security improvements. Barack Obama will fill this critical hole in our homeland security network.
Improve Border Security: Americans know that our national border security system is broken, leaving our country vulnerable. Barack Obama will support the virtual and physical infrastructure and manpower necessary to secure our borders and keep our nation safe.
Modernize America’s Aging Infrastructure
Build-in Security: Barack Obama will ensure that security is considered and built into the design of new infrastructure, so that our critical assets are protected from the start and more resilient to naturally-occurring and deliberate threats throughout their life-cycle.
Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank: Barack Obama will address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. This independent entity will be directed to invest in our nation’s most challenging transportation infrastructure needs, without the influence of special interests. The Bank will receive an infusion of federal money, $60 billion over 10 years, to provide financing to transportation infrastructure projects across the nation.
Invest in Critical Infrastructure Projects: Barack Obama will invest in our nation’s most pressing short and long-term infrastructure needs, including modernizing our electrical grid and upgrading our highway, rail, ports, water, and aviation infrastructure. Obama will establish a Grid Modernization Commission to facilitate adoption of Smart Grid practices to improve efficiency and security of our electricity grid. He will also build on his work in the U.S. Senate to ensure that the federal government prioritizes strengthening our critical infrastructure.
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