Democratic Party Platform of 1984


Defense Policy

The Reagan Administration measures military might by dollars spent. The Democratic Party seeks prudent defense based on sound planning and a realistic assessment of threats. In the field of defense policy, the Democratic Administration will:

—Work with our NATO and other allies to ensure our collective security, especially by strengthening our conventional defenses so as to reduce our need to rely on nuclear weapons, and to achieve this at increased spending levels, with funding to continue at levels appropriate to our collective security, with the firm hope that successful steps to reduce tensions and to obtain comprehensive and verifiable arms control agreements will guarantee our nation both military security and budgetary relief.—Cancel destabilizing or duplicative weapons systems, while proceeding in the absence of appropriate arms control agreements with necessary modernization of our strategic forces.—Scale back the construction of large, expensive and vulnerable nuclear carriers.—Modernize our conventional forces by balancing new equipment purchases with adequate resources spent on training, fuel, ammunition, maintenance, spare parts, and airlift and sea-lift to assure combat readiness and mobility, and by providing better equipment for our Reserves and National Guard.—Reorganize Pentagon management and strengthen the JCS system to reduce inter-service rivalries, promote military leadership over bureaucratic skills, assure effective execution of policies and decisions, undertake better multi-year planning based upon realistic projections of available resources, and reduce conflicts of interest.—Ensure open and fair competitive bidding for procurement of necessary equipment and parts, and establish a system of effective, independent testing of weapons for combat conditions.—Implement a program of military reform. Our forces must be combat ready; our doctrines should emphasize out-thinking and outmaneuvering our adversaries; and our policies should improve military organization and unit cohesion.—Press our European allies to increase their contributions to NATO defense to levels of effort comparable to our own—an approach that the Administration undercut by abandoning the NATO-wide agreement concluded by its Democratic predecessor—and pursue improved trans-Atlantic economic cooperation and coordination of arms procurement.—Recognize that the heart of our military strength is people, Americans in uniform who will have the skills and the will to maintain the peace. The men and women of our armed services deserve not only proper pay and benefits, but the nation’s recognition, respect and gratitude as well.—Recognize the importance of the intelligence community and emphasize its mission as being dedicated to the timely collection and analysis of information and data. A Democratic Administration will also recognize the urgent need to de-politicize the intelligence community and to restore professional leadership to it.—Oppose a peacetime military draft or draft registration.—Oppose efforts to restrict the opportunities of women in the military based solely on gender. The Reagan Administration has used the combat designation as an arbitrary and inappropriate way to exclude women from work they can legitimately perform. Women nurses and technicians, for example, have long served with distinction on the front lines: women must not be excluded from jobs that they are trained and able to perform.—Seek ways to expand programs such as VISTA, the Young Adult Conservation Corps, and the Peace Corps.

These and other qualitative improvements will ensure effective American strength at affordable cost. With this strength we will restore the confidence of our fellow citizens and our allies; we will be able to mount an effective conventional defense; and we will present our adversaries with a credible capability to deter war.

The Democratic Party is committed to reversing the policies of the Reagan Administration in the area of military and defense procurement. Public accounts reveal a four-year record of waste, fraud, conflicts of interest, and indications of wrongdoing. Administration officials have engaged in practices that have cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. Further, the Reagan Administration has ignored legal remedies to stop the abuses, recover the funds, and punish those responsible.

A Democratic President will demand full disclosure of all information, launch a thorough investigation, and seek recovery of any tax funds illegally spent. This will be a major step towards restoring integrity to defense procurements and reducing unnecessary expenditures in the defense budget.


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Chicago: "Defense Policy," Democratic Party Platform of 1984 in Democratic National Committee, Democratic Party Platform, 1984, Pp.41-42 42. Original Sources, accessed May 28, 2023,

MLA: . "Defense Policy." Democratic Party Platform of 1984, in Democratic National Committee, Democratic Party Platform, 1984, Pp.41-42, page 42. Original Sources. 28 May. 2023.

Harvard: , 'Defense Policy' in Democratic Party Platform of 1984. cited in , Democratic National Committee, Democratic Party Platform, 1984, Pp.41-42, pp.42. Original Sources, retrieved 28 May 2023, from