As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Appropriations, 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. Senator Shaheen also believes that U.S. global leadership is directly tied to the strength of our ideals, our alliances and our diplomacy, and she is working to ensure our national security policies reflect our broader democratic values.
Today, the world is more interconnected than ever before, and our nation’s economy and security are directly linked to events across the globe. Many businesses in New Hampshire and throughout the U.S. rely on access to markets and consumers thousands of miles away. The threats of the 21st century – from terrorism and extremism to weapons of mass destruction, failed states to cyber attacks, climate change to disease– are truly global and will require a balanced approach that leverages all of America’s ingenuity and power and contributions from our allies and partners.
Senator Shaheen believes that America’s leaders have a responsibility to leave the world a better and safer place for the next generation of Americans.
A Strong Military
The United States Armed Forces are the strongest and most capable in the history of the world, and they form the backbone of American national security. In today’s world, a strong military no longer means simply having the most firepower; it requires new technologies, adaptive innovation and flexible institutions. As the United States continues to face multiple threats and commitments overseas, 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
Our men and women in uniform are the greatest asset of the United States military, and we are all grateful for their service and sacrifice. Over the past fifteen years our troops have carried a tremendous burden, and we must not forget the toll this has taken on them and on their families. Senator Shaheen has been a leader in supporting our active duty troops, our National Guard and Reserve forces and their families. In particular, the Senator has fought for the New Hampshire National Guard, which continues to deploy overseas and respond to domestic emergencies at home. She recognizes the sacrifice our service men and women face and deeply values their service, which is why she continues to advocate for the New Hampshire National Guards Care Coordination Program. This important program provides mental health care, financial counseling and substance abuse referrals for servicemembers and their families before, during and after deployments.
The Transatlantic Alliance
Senator Shaheen is a strong advocate for the Transatlantic Alliance that has long been the bedrock of U.S. foreign policy. Our allies in Europe share our democratic values, our concern for human rights and our commitment to making the world more stable and prosperous. They have also, through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), fought side by side with U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other conflict zones around the world. Finally, our European allies purchase nearly $1 billion worth of goods annually from Granite State businesses and are a significant source of foreign investment. Senator Shaheen has made deepening and expanding this vital economic and security relationship a top priority. In the years ahead, Senator Shaheen believes that the close ties between the U.S. and the countries of the European Union and NATO will prove even more critical to tackling shared challenges.
Political instability across the Middle East has led to intense violence and conflict in this region, particularly in Syria and Iraq. This conflict has been fueled by terrorist groups like ISIS that seek to exploit fragile states and sectarian divisions in order to gain followers and reach. Senator Shaheen has strongly supported the U.S.-led military coalition to destroy ISIS, while also encouraging greater cooperation between the U.S. and our partners to ensure foreign fighters who have traveled to the region are not able to gain entry to the U.S.
Senator Shaheen also supported the decision by President Obama and our senior military leaders to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2016 in order to continue building the capacity of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to deny the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations a safe haven. More than 30 nations, including NATO allies, have committed to supporting the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan both financially and with personnel through 2020, affording the Afghan government and military invaluable time and space to continue building their institutions.
Unfortunately, the U.S. also faces a domestic counterterrorism challenge of preventing individuals already living in our country from becoming radicalized by terrorist propaganda. In addressing this threat, Senator Shaheen believes that the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigations must work with moderate voices in Muslim-American communities to identify those at risk of radicalization before they take steps to hurt innocent Americans.
Senator Shaheen has also championed efforts to protect the U.S. and our close ally Israel from security threats, including through support for security assistance to the Israeli military to help them defend from the constant threat of rocket attacks. In light of Iran’s continued support for the terrorist group Hizballah, which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, she authored and saw passed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act. According to Treasury officials, her legislation has caused Hizballah to be “in its worst financial shape in decades”, which means fewer resources are available to this dangerous terrorist group that is responsible for hundreds of American deaths.
Women and Girls Empowerment
Senator Shaheen is a leading advocate for the cause of women and girls around the world. She has repeatedly and successfully led efforts during the annual appropriations process to maintain funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs, while also opposing efforts to deny women around the world access to health care services. She is also the lead sponsor of the International Violence against Women Act, which seeks to combat gender-based violence and also supports a permanent, Ambassador-level position at the State Department responsible for prioritizing the advancement of women and girls in U.S. foreign policy efforts.
The threat of nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands is 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. One way to reduce the odds terrorists are able to obtain a nuclear weapon is to reduce the numbers of such weapons. As the former Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, Senator Shaheen was a leader in pushing the Senate to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which has reduced the number of nuclear warheads aimed at the United States and restored American leadership on the nuclear agenda. Even as tensions with Russia have escalated, Senator Shaheen has continued to call for continued bilateral cooperation on nuclear disarmament.
Of the 93 million barrels of oil consumed globally on a daily basis, American consumption is responsible for nearly 20 million of those barrels – a disproportionate percentage relative to the global population. 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 is an important component of our national security, and America can do better. The United States is not alone in our efforts to find new and cleaner sources of energy. As the developing world continues to demand exponentially more energy, achieving energy security for America and our friends abroad becomes even more critical. For this reason, Senator Shaheen has introduced legislation that will ensure the broader deployment of clean and energy efficient technologies that strengthen our nation’s energy security, reduce pollution and improve the resiliency of our electric grid.
Senator Shaheen also believes it is important for our military to improve its energy efficiency and develop alternative fuels to improve combat effectiveness and address vulnerabilities due to our dependence on conventional sources of energy. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Shaheen will continue to advocate for these improvements so that the military can enhance the range of its ships and vehicles, lighten the load for our soldiers and reduce risk.
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