On the Issues: National Security
Qasim Rashid believes we must ensure every nickel spent on national defense helps prepare America for 21st century threats, including pandemic, climate change, and terrorism. Diplomacy matters, and an effective State Department will help reduce spending on the Defense Department. Even former Trump Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, told Congress, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately.”
The Defense Department has an important role to play in foreign policy and must have the resources necessary to protect. But we should not be running our foreign policy through the Pentagon. It’s time to invest in diplomacy, and take time during the COVID-19 pandemic to think about what national security truly means in a 21st century world.
- After winning World War II, America and her allies created international organizations designed to bring democracy to people around the globe. US foreign policy must acknowledge our interdependent world and emphasize cooperation through these institutions. This includes the World Health Organization.
- As a human rights lawyer, Qasim knows that we must rely on our core American principles of liberty and human dignity while navigating this interdependent world. These principles can and must coexist with a robust US national defense strategy.
- The US Department of Defense understands how climate change will affect national security, and our military leaders know that a robust US national defense strategy must account for the disruption this will bring. Rising sea levels will threaten defense installations across the world, including Naval Support Facility Dahlgren in the First District as well as Langley Air Force Base and Norfolk Naval Base elsewhere in Virginia. Agricultural disruption will force people to leave their homes and cause migration of climate refugees across borders. Water could become as critical as oil. In Congress I’ll work to protect critical national security infrastructure in Virginia and across the US. And I’ll listen to military leaders so we can make sure they have the resources and people needed to defend America if attacked and protect US interests against the new threats climate change will bring.
- As Eisenhower warned us, “the foundation of military strength is economic strength.” A robust national security establishment depends on a level economic playing field with thriving workers who have a chance to build family wealth.
- The United States spends twice as much on national defense as China and Russia combined. We can spend this money more wisely and find ways to cut costs. US defense spending priorities must focus on foreign threats, assemble the defense infrastructure necessary to protect Americans from these threats, and support the men and women who defend our way of life, while they’re serving and after they serve.
Qasim understands we must serve and support our Veterans, not just with lip service, but with actual progress. As the younger brother of a US Marine Veteran, he’s seen first hand the struggles of former service-members, and is committed to use that experience to fight for change. Virginia’s First District is home both to the Marine Corps Base Quantico and the Dahlgren Naval Base, so change is more critical than ever for our District. That change includes but is not limited to:
- Expanding funding for the VA to make sure our veterans get accessible, effective medical treatment whenever they need it.
- Funding affordable housing for our veterans. As of January 2019, there are over 30,000 homeless veterans in the United States. No one who has served our country should be without a roof over their head.
- In 2011, 1.3 million veterans relied on the VA for mental health-related issues, yet on average, 22 veterans commit suicide a day. We must give our veterans the access to mental health treatment they need.
- Supporting low income veterans who are on Medicaid and SNAP.
- Expanding support for military families who want to further their education, re-enter the civilian workforce, and start small businesses.