National Security

Iraq/Afghanistan • Military Contracting • Veterans

The U.S. government has a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of our nation. As a former member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HSPCI), I take our national security very seriously, and I am committed to protecting our nation from any threats.

We face serious threats from all corners of the world. Terrorist groups, networks, and individual actors continue to threaten the American people with violence. The Iranian regime poses a real danger through its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for terrorist groups. Global poverty, inequality, and a lack of opportunity breed despair and instability. Criminal networks and foreign governments threaten the security of our information and communications infrastructure. We need smart responses to these emerging threats, from new terror cells to poverty to cybersecurity breaches.

Recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not made us safer – they have squandered resources and lives without neutralizing the threat posed by terrorism. I opposed the invasion of Iraq and consistently called for ending that conflict, and I strongly believe we need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. I support legislation and policies that provide for the safe withdrawal of U.S. troops, and a reinvestment in diplomatic engagement and economic support for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I also believe we must reduce our reliance on private military contractors in war zones, particularly armed private security contractors. As we bring our troops home, we have more than 20,000 armed contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan – men and women who answer to a private corporation and do not wear the badge of the United States. Contractors are not subject to the same rigorous standards of behavior and conduct as are members of our armed forces, and companies like the infamous Blackwater have a long history of misconduct and abuse. I believe we need to reduce our reliance on contractors and increase oversight over the companies we hire.

I support smart cuts to our military budget. We can reduce what former Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the "gusher" of defense spending without compromising our national security by focusing on modern threats and ending funding for Cold War-era weapons. We currently spend as much on defense as the next seventeen countries combined (most of whom are our allies). As a member of the President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, I proposed a deficit reduction plan that significantly reduced the defense budget by eliminating waste and outdated weapons systems. With defense spending at record levels, I support common-sense reductions to the Pentagon budget, particularly at a time when many in Washington are talking about drastic cuts to critical domestic social safety net programs.

We must reduce military spending in ways that do not break our promises to soldiers, their families, and veterans. I do not support policies and proposals to reduce service member or veteran benefits. Our men and women in uniform perform an extraordinary service to our nation, at great personal sacrifice, and we have a responsibility to ensure that they have access to the benefits they have earned and the services that they need. Our soldiers and their families deserve our deepest gratitude.

Legislation I've Introduced

The Stop Outsourcing Security Act – The Stop Outsourcing Security Act would phase out the use of private security contractors in war zones.  It would also increase transparency over any remaining security contracts by increasing reporting requirements and Congressional oversight.  My bill would ensure that security personnel in conflict zones wear the badge of the United States and answer to the Commander in Chief, not to a private corporation.

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    repName Jan Schakowsky  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago Office
    5533 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
     
    district 9th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR IL  
    repDistrict 9  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 9th  
    repPhoto    
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