THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES: #3 DEFENSE; Reagan
Spending for defense Ronald Reagan has declared: "America's national security can be best guaranteed by a strong defense capability second to none." And he says that as president this would be his "No. 1 priority."
He has not been specific about how much he might increase the defense budget, but he has said, "You have to spend what is necessary to deter the enemy" and "whatever it takes to be strong enough that no other nation will dare violate the peace."
He told the 1980 Veterans of Foreign Wars convention that the "last Republican defense budget, proposed by President Ford, would have maintained the margin" of safety. But he has not said how much it would cost now to restore the margin.
The Republican platform notes that the Soviets are outspending the United States on defense by more than $50 billion annually. It pledges "an immediate increase in defense spending" and says, "We will build toward a sustained defense expenditure sufficient to close the gap with the Soviets, and ultimately reach the position of military superiority." Meeting obligations abroad
Reagan has repeatedly stated that he favors an American "military presence" in the Middle East. But, he says, "I'm not asking to send force to any place unless it is absolutely necessary to our national security."
He has suggested that the US send weapons to Pakistan to be passed on to Afghans for use in their struggle against Soviet invaders.
The Republican platform charges that the Carter administration has allowed the superiority once provided by the presence of tactical nuclear weapons in NATO countries to erode "to the point where we now face a more than 3-to-1 disadvantage.
"A Republican administration will strive for early modernization of our theater nuclear forces so that a seamless web of deterrence can be maintained against all levels of attack, and our credibility with out European allies is restored. In consultation with them we will proceed with deployments in Europe of medium-range cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, enhanced radiation warheads , and the modernization of nuclear artillery." Personnel problems
"I do not favor a peacetime draft or registration," says Reagan, "but I do favor pay and benefit levels that will attract and keep highly motivated men and women in our volunteer forces and an active reserve trained and ready for an instant call in case of an emergency."
He says members of the armed services have always faced "long hours, separation from family, unpleasant duty assignments, and the like -- but these have always been bearable in the past. Today, however, the most important reason [for the inability to attract and keep enough good people] is the lack of adequate pay and benefits and the imposition of unnecessary family hardships. . . . "If I have the opportunity, I will present a program of compensation and benefits for our valued military personnel comparable to what is available in the private sector. . . .
"I believe in the voluntary military," the Republican candidate says. As an aid to enlistment, he would restore GI Bill of Rights benefits that were ended in 1977. And, he says, "we need a "millionman active reserve that could be called up in a moment's notice." Strategic nuclear deterrent
"Our nuclear deterrent forces must be made survivable as rapidly as possible to close the window of vulnerability before it opens any wider," says Reagan. "We must immediately reverse the deterioration of our naval strength and provide all of the armed forces with the equipment and spare parts they need." He also has said that US military planes and ships are "not being replaced at the rate of obsolescence."
Reagan would not have canceled the B-1 bomber and hints that as president he would give the go-ahead to build it -- or another new manned, supersonic bomber. He doesn't feel the MX missile will be ready soon enough, but has given no specific alternative. In the debate with Anderson, he said: "I support and believe in the [MX] missile itself."
The GOP candidate's stand on US strategic might is in line with the Republican platform position calling for "a credible strategy which will deter a Soviet attack by the clear capability of our forces to survive [a first strike] and ultimately to destroy Soviet military targets." The platform also calls for "The earliest possible deployment of the MX missile in a prudent survivable configuration" and "accelerated development and deployment of a new manned strategic penetrating bomber." Conventional forces
Reagan says he will call a conference of maritime and shipbuilding leaders after he is elected, and establish a goal of developing a 600-ship Navy. He proposes that, because of the "Soviet buildup on the high seas," the National Security Council monitor (civilian) maritime programs, which he would beef up along with Navy shipbuilding.
The GOP platform, addressing the situation in the Gulf prior to the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, suggested "the dual pillars of maintaining a limited full-time presence in the area as a credible interdiction force, combined with the clear capability to reinforce this presence rapidly with the forces necessary to prevail in battle. In addition, the strategy must envision military action elsewhere at points of Soviet vulnerability -- an expression of the classic doctrine of global maneuver. . . .
"We pledge to increase substantially our intra-and inter-theater airlift capability and to increase our aerial tanker fleet through procurement and speedy modernization." Intelligence agencies
The Republican platform states: "A Republican administration will seek to improve US intelligence capabilities for technical and clandestine collection, cogent analysis, coordinated counterintelligence, and covert action . . . , re-establish the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, abolished by the Carter administration, as a permanent nonpartisan body of distinguished Americans to perform a constant audit of national intelligence research and performance . . . , undertake an urgent effort to rebuild the intelligence agencies . . . , support legislation to invoke criminal sanctions against anyone who discloses the identities of US intelligence officers abroad or who makes unauthorized disclosures of US intelligence sources and methods . . . , provide our government with the capability to help influence international events vital to our national security interests . . . ," and "seek adequate safeguards to ensure that past abuses will not recur," while seeking "the repeal of ill-considered restrictions sponsored by Democrats, which have debilitated US intelligence capabilities while easing the intelligence collection and subversion efforts of our adversaries."