It is encouraging to hear both candidates speak of reequipping the Intelligence Community (IC)—weakened by restrictive policies, diminished resources, and a climate of distrust surrounding IC organizations and personnel—to effectively confront the multiplying challenges and threats to U.S. national security. Both candidates, however, could go further in laying out specifics. Clinton’s “intelligence surge” in response to international and domestic acts of terrorism sounds appealing but falters on some specifics. An “intelligence surge” must necessarily include a mission to persuade Congress to restore and stabilize statutory authorities, funding, broad support for the intelligence community, and investment into the technologies and personnel that will serve as the nation’s first line of defense. It must also lean more “offensive” in nature by expanding the collection of human intelligence and revitalizing covert action as a foreign policy tool.
Donald Trump’s statement that we are paying approximately 73 percent of the cost of NATO is factually inaccurate. The total NATO budget for 2016 is $2.3 billion, including $245 million in the civil budget, $1.3 billion in the military budget, and around $763 million for the NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP). The U.S. cost share in the NATO budget currently sits at 22.1 percent for 2016-2017. Taken as a percentage of our entire defense budget, our NATO burden stands at less than one-tenth of one percent. Against this investment, we receive the benefit of hundreds of thousands of European troops deployed alongside our own soldiers around Europe to deter the growing threat of Russian aggression, and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq to act as a force multiplier for U.S. forces engaged in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency fights, including against enemies who could become capable of striking the American homeland.