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National Security

California Democrats recognize that providing for the common defense of our nation is a foundational responsibility of the government of the United States, but our defense policy must increase our focus and investment in diplomacy and should not solely rely on might of our armed forces.

Our party is committed to a foreign policy that holds the use of military force as the absolute last resort for national defense used only when available diplomatic and preventative options have been exhausted.  We support the work that the Biden Administration has undertaken to rebuild our image on the world stage and to rebuild our strategic alliances with countries that share our values.  We must do better to consider unintended consequences and the downstream effects of military engagement and to avoid unnecessary armed conflicts.

To keep America safe and strong we must also look to domestic threats and priorities by eliminating outdated programs and unnecessary defense spending and reinvesting in domestic priorities including rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, reducing the national debt, and addressing head-on the existential threat of the climate crisis.

To preserve, protect and defend our country and the Constitution of the United States, California Democrats will:

  • Support efforts to combat climate change by pursuing innovative energy solutions and ensuring that our military leads the way in renewable energy use;
  • Support efforts to strengthen our defense against cyber-threats to our national security and to election security while protecting individual privacy rights and civil liberties;
  • Support efforts to stop endless wars by repealing both the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF);
  • Fight against extremist ideologies and protect communities targeted by white nationalists and racially motivated domestic terrorists;
  • Support enhancement of federal and state law enforcement capabilities to protect the public from domestic terrorism;
  • Support strong consumer data privacy legislation and the enhancement of federal and state law enforcement agency cybersecurity capabilities to protect Americans against identity theft;
  • Support efforts to audit spending by the U.S. Department of Defense and hold the Pentagon accountable for waste, fraud and abuse identified in independent audits;
  • Support efforts to reduce unnecessary Pentagon spending; 
  • Support efforts to prevent preemptive war and prevent presidential authorized military action without congressional approval;
  • Increase foreign non-military aid dedicated to improving anti-terrorism capabilities, law enforcement training, investigation, information exchange, and international cooperation;
  • Support a gradual and responsible reduction in the Department of Defense (DOD) budget in line with historic drawdowns after major conflicts;
  • Rebalance our national security portfolio to prioritize nonviolent solutions to conflict and nonmilitary tools such as diplomacy, institution-building, and foreign aid;
  • Support a foreign policy that promotes democratic reforms abroad, human rights, and the rule of law;
  • Secure our ports of entry by improving information and intelligence sharing among federal, state and local law enforcement and by enhancing inspections at all airports, seaports and land crossings while protecting individual privacy rights and civil liberties;
  • Increase federal funding to states and communities for equipment, training, and improving the capabilities of first responders;
  • Support the establishment of a clear and accountable chain of command for the use of unmanned devices, such as drones, and ensure that the use of drones is consistent with U.S. obligations under international law;
  • Support efforts to end the CIA’s use of armed drones;
  • Protect First Amendment rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of religion, and the historic understanding of the Fourth Amendment that protects the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure while engaging in domestic surveillance and intelligence gathering;
  • Honor obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty framework and set a long-term policy to reduce and eventually eliminate weapons of mass destruction throughout the world;
  • Reject funding for new “low-yield” and other warfighting nuclear weapons;
  • Redirect budget expenditures for wasteful and dangerous nuclear weapons development programs to domestic needs such as infrastructure, education, health care, and services for military veterans;
  • Support investments in infrastructure and technology that promote domestic energy independence through renewable sources;
  • Protect American creativity and jobs by combating online piracy of intellectual property;
  • Advocate for policies that reduce the demand for illicit drugs and thereby decrease the influence of international narcotics traffickers;
  • Denounce the racial profiling of Chinese American scientists by the Department of Justice (some 20 years after the Dr. Wen Ho Lee case) because of ethnicity or national origin and recognize the great losses to our country’s scientific advancement and national security should such targeting continue;
  • Support efforts to demilitarize local law enforcement by prohibiting the military from transferring certain weapons, vehicles, and gear including grenades, mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, and armored and weaponized drones to local law enforcement agencies;
  • Require the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress what military equipment was transferred to local school districts;
  • Condemn practices that violate the First Amendment rights of journalists, lawyers, clergy, and activists critical of government policies under the pretext of providing “border security”;
  • Support efforts to deny and decrease funding of Customs and Border Patrol for any “technological wall” as it would expand intrusive border surveillance programs of all people, including U.S. Citizens, to violate human rights;
  • Oppose all efforts to extend the existing physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border;
  • Encourage the U.S. and Mexican governments to immediately suspend, investigate, and prosecute state actors implicated in intrusive border surveillance programs in violation of individual civil rights;
  • Oppose all travel bans based on religious discrimination; and,
  • Encourage Congress to increase funding for programs that support organizations that defend human rights.