As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s European Affairs Subcommittee, and as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Shaheen is dedicated to strengthening America’s national security. She believes that a strong and active United States is fundamental to securing our national interests at home and abroad.
Today the world is more interconnected than ever before, and our nation’s economy and security are directly linked to events and countries across the globe. Many businesses in New Hampshire and throughout the U.S. rely on markets and consumers thousands of miles away. And as the attacks of September 11th tragically illustrated, the United States can no longer rely on our borders to protect us from attacks planned halfway around the world. The threats of the 21st century – from terrorism and extremism to weapons of mass destruction, from climate change and failed states to cyber attacks and disease – are truly global and will require a balanced approach to leverage all of America’s ingenuity and power.
Our country’s national security has a direct effect on the lives of every American, and Senator Shaheen is committed to making sure our policies are strong and prudent, focused on maintaining American interests around the globe, and based on the principle that America’s leaders have the responsibility of leaving the world a better place for the next generation.
A Strong Military
The United States Armed Forces are the strongest, most capable military in the history of the world, and they form the backbone of American national security. Senator Shaheen recognizes the complexity and danger of the threats facing the United States today, and of the future threats for which it must prepare. Facing these threats requires a capable, powerful, and flexible military. In today’s world, a strong military no longer means simply having the most firepower, but instead requires new technologies, adaptive innovation, and flexible institutions. As the United States faces multiple threats simultaneously, including the deployment of significant numbers of troops in multiple theatres of war, we must ensure we not only provide for our current defense, but also invest in our military’s future. Senator Shaheen is dedicated to strengthening America’s military by equipping it to meet today’s challenges and preparing it to overcome tomorrow’s threats.
Support for our Troops
The men and women of the United States Armed Forces represent the most capable, professional and accomplished military in the history of the world, and we are all proud of their services and successes. Over the last decade, our troops have carried a nearly incomprehensible burden, and we must not forget the toll this effort takes on our servicemen and women and their families. Senator Shaheen has been a leader in calling for personnel measures that support not only our active duty troops, but also our National Guard and Reserve forces, as well as their families. She believes strongly that we must address the challenges that face our service men and women, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, high suicide rates, and sexual assault in the military. Our nation has an obligation to the brave men and women of the military who have put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.
Success in Afghanistan and Pakistan is critical to our national security. The central front in the battle against terrorism and extremism is – and always has been – in the dangerous border region between these two countries. It represents the nexus between extremist ideology, terrorism, and nuclear capabilities, and it is where militants continue to plot to target the United States. There are no easy answers to the challenges we face in this unstable and volatile region.
After years of mismanagement and neglect of our effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan under the previous administration, President Obama and his administration have laid out a joint military and civilian effort in Afghanistan, while seeking a long-term approach to working with the government of Pakistan to address our security challenges.
Though our commitment to working with our partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan is long-term, our military engagement cannot remain open-ended, and our ultimate objectives need to be realistic and focused on transferring responsibility for security and governance to the people of Afghanistan.
Osama bin Laden’s death was a monumental triumph for U.S. national security interests and a testament to the quality and unrelenting resolve of America’s intelligence, diplomatic, and military establishment. However, this historic event does not end the threat of terrorism, and Senator Shaheen knows we must continue to stay vigilant in protecting the American people from al Qaeda and its extremist allies.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Shaheen works to ensure rigorous oversight of our efforts in Afghanistan and with Pakistan. Real progress will require a commitment from the governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan to not only address military threats, but to make progress on the civilian front, by fighting corruption and improving governance.
Today, the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands represents a nightmare scenario for American policy-makers and the people of this country. A nuclear weapon detonated anywhere around the globe would have immediate and devastating consequences for American economic and security interests. Meeting the threat of nuclear terrorism successfully will require us to take concrete steps to secure dangerous materials and weapons around the globe and will require robust and sustained international engagement.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Shaheen was a leader in pushing the Senate to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which reduces the number of nuclear warheads aimed at the United States and restored American leadership on the nuclear agenda.
Iran continues to pose a significant threat to American national security and our allies abroad. In addition to its illicit efforts to develop a nuclear weapon and its deplorable human rights record, Iran’s military aid to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, Palestinian Hamas, and Lebanese Hezbollah is deeply troubling and directly undermines stability in a volatile and dangerous Middle East. Senator Shaheen believes we need to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime by working closely with our international partners in pursuit of additional harsh sanctions. The U.S. should continue to pursue all appropriate avenues to ensure that the Iranian government does not attain a nuclear weapon, stops its support for terrorism, and respects the universal rights of its citizens.
Our troops in Iraq have performed brilliantly under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and we are all proud of their service and successes. The war in Iraq has come at an enormous cost –we have lost thousands of troops, tens of thousands have been wounded, countless others suffer from PTSD and depression, and hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent. Senator Shaheen believes the time has come for the Iraqi government to step up both militarily and financially and to take responsibility for its own future. Even as the U.S. transitions from a combat mission to a diplomatic presence in Iraq, the United States still maintains significant security interests here and will need to stay closely engaged in this region.
Of the 85 million barrels of oil consumed globally on a daily basis, American consumption is responsible for nearly 20 million of those barrels – a large percentage of which we import from unstable and dangerous regions. Each year, the U.S. sends hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign markets in exchange for energy supplies that threaten our climate and influence our foreign policies abroad. Senator Shaheen believes that energy security drives our national security, and America can do better. As a member of both the Senate Energy & Natural Resources and Foreign Relations Committees, Senator Shaheen is uniquely positioned to play a leadership role in working to end our dependence on foreign energy and attain clean energy security here at home. For more on energy, click here.
The United States is not alone in our efforts to find new and cleaner sources of energy. Our partners and allies around the world share America’s addiction to foreign energy, and we have a mutual interest in breaking this cycle of dependence. As the developing world continues to demand exponentially more energy, achieving energy security for America and our friends abroad becomes even more critical.
Europe and NATO
With years of experience in international politics, both through her role as Director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics and as an international election monitor, Senator Shaheen has emerged as a leader in the Senate on trans-Atlantic policy issues. As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs, Shaheen is responsible for overseeing U.S. involvement in NATO efforts around the globe, and U.S. foreign policy efforts in Russia, the Caucasus, the Balkans, and throughout Europe. She believes that the enduring relationship between the United States and Europe remains the anchor for stability in an increasingly complex and interrelated world. The greatest security challenges of our generation – the global economic crisis, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change and energy security – will need to be met by a united front with our European allies.
In addition to ensuring the security of Americans, the trans-Atlantic relationship continues to have a significant, direct impact on the livelihood of the people of New Hampshire. Our European allies purchase nearly a $1 billion worth of goods annually from Granite State businesses and are a significant source of foreign investment. As Chair of the Europe Subcommittee, Senator Shaheen will play an active role in deepening and expanding this vital economic relationship.