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Romney Campaign Press Release - Fact Sheet: The Romney Plan For An American Century

July 24, 2012

Today, Mitt Romney delivered an address on foreign policy and national security at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Reno, Nevada. Below are policies included in Mitt Romney's foreign policy and national security strategy.

Defense Policy

American military power is vital to the preservation of our own security and peace around the world. Mitt Romney will:

  • Reverse Obama-era defense spending cuts with the goal of setting a core defense spending floor of 4% of GDP.
  • In his first 100 days, put our Navy on the path to increase its shipbuilding rate from nine per year to approximately fifteen per year.  Maintain a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers.
  • Find efficiencies in the Department of Defense procurement process and bureaucratic staff to reinvest in the force.
  • Modernize and replace the aging inventories of the Air Force, Army, and Marines, and selectively strengthen our force structure.
  • Add 100,000 active duty troops.
  • In the first 100 days, begin reversing Obama-era cuts to missile defense and commit to a robust multi-layered national ballistic-missile defense system to deter and defend against nuclear attacks on our homeland and our allies.

Iran Policy

Mitt Romney believes it is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapons capability and will adopt a comprehensive strategy to prevent that scenario.  He will:

  • In his first 100 days, make clear that the military option is on the table by ordering the regular presence of an aircraft carrier task force in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously. He will also begin talks with Israel to increase military coordination and assistance and enhance intelligence sharing.
  • Increase military coordination with Arab allies in the region and conduct more naval exercises in the region as a demonstration of strength and resolve.
  • Fully implement sanctions targeted at Iran's Central Bank and its petroleum industry. Cease the Obama Administration's practice of issuing exemptions from sanctions to nations such as China that fail to meaningfully reduce their oil imports from Iran.
  • Step up enforcement of existing U.S. laws that bar commerce with Iran, such as the exportation of refined petroleum products to Iran.
  • Increase diplomatic isolation of Iran and work to indict Iranian President Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide under the Genocide Convention.
  • Support the Iranian opposition by improving the flow of information to the Iranian population about its own government's repressive activities and refusing to stand silent while the Iranian regime ruthlessly terrorizes its own people.
  • Reaffirm that any negotiated agreement must entail the internationally recognized redline of full suspension of enrichment activities by the Iranian regime. In addition, call for intrusive and unannounced inspections, unfettered access to all officials and scientists who have participated in Iran's nuclear program, removal of enriched uranium stockpiles from Iran, and a full accounting of past weaponization work.
  • Commit to the on-time completion of a fully capable missile defense system in Eastern Europe and retain the option of reverting to a swifter implementation plan. Mitt Romney will deny Russia any control or veto over the missile defense system.

Afghanistan & Pakistan Policy

Mitt Romney will cease President Obama's practice of politicizing decisions on troop levels and transition timetables. Mitt Romney will:

  • In his first 100 days, order a full interagency review of our transition in Afghanistan toward the goal of a successful transition of combat operations by the end of 2014. He will review our military and assistance presence to determine the level required to secure our gains and to train Afghan forces to the point where they can protect the sovereignty of Afghanistan on their own. Withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan under a Romney administration will be based on conditions on the ground as assessed by our military commanders.
  • Work with the Afghan government and Pakistan and use U.S. leverage to ensure that those nations are fully contributing to the success of our mission. He will make clear to Afghan President Hamid Karzai that our commitment must be met with reciprocal efforts to crack down on corruption in his government, respect free and fair elections as required by the Afghan constitution, and coordinate with the United States on fighting the narcotics trade that fuels the insurgency. Mitt Romney will work with Pakistan to sever any connection between insurgent forces and Pakistan's security and intelligence agencies.

China Policy

Mitt Romney will implement a strategy that makes the path of regional hegemony for China far more costly than the alternative path of becoming a responsible partner in the international system. Mitt Romney will:

  • Maintain robust military capabilities in the Pacific to guarantee that trade routes remain open and East Asia's community of nations remains secure and prosperous.
  • Deepen cooperation among regional partners like India and build stronger ties to influential countries like Indonesia.
  • Defend human rights. Any serious policy must confront the fact that China's Communist regime continues to deny its people basic political freedoms and human rights. Mitt Romney will support and engage civil society groups within China that are promoting democratic reform, anti-corruption efforts, religious freedom, and women's and minority rights. These efforts will provide them with greater access to information through a stronger Internet freedom initiative.

Specifically on issues of trade, Mitt Romney will lay out a clear series of steps that the Chinese must take to become a responsible participant in the global economy, and a clear series of consequences that would accompany failure to make rapid progress down that path, such as:

If China continues to block government procurement from foreign firms:

  • End U.S. government procurement from China

If China continues to manipulate its currency:

  • Formally declare China to be a currency manipulator
  • Impose associated countervailing duties

If China continues to unfairly subsidize its domestic producers,  interfere with foreign competitors, and pursue an "indigenous innovation" policy by coercing and stealing from foreign firms:

  • Impose punitive tariffs on Chinese products for which China provides anti-competitive assistance
  • Work with other developed nations to impose intellectual property sanctions, blocking the transfer into China of technologies that China has prioritized

In response to all of these practices:

  • Use Reagan Economic Zone to confer benefits on genuine free trading nations from which China is excluded so long as its unfair practices continue

Middle East Policy

A Romney administration will pursue a strategy of supporting groups and governments across the Middle East to advance the values of representative government, economic opportunity, and human rights. And it will oppose any extension of Iranian or jihadist influence. Mitt Romney will:

  • Engage Congress to organize all diplomatic and assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one regional director with unified budgetary and directive authority who will train our soft power on ensuring the Arab Spring does not become an Arab Winter.
  • Make available technical assistance to transitional governments to promote democracy, good governance, and sound financial management.
  • Convene a summit that brings together world leaders, donor groups, and young leaders of civil society groups in nations in transition.


Mitt Romney will restore our relationship with our closest ally in the Middle East. He will:

  • Make Israel the destination of his first foreign trip as president.
  • In the first 100 days, reaffirm as a vital U.S. national interest the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.
  • Work closely with Israel to maintain its strategic military edge and increase military assistance.
  • Reject any measure that would frustrate direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Mitt Romney will make clear to the Palestinians that the unilateral attempt to decide issues that are designated for final negotiations is unacceptable.
  • Reduce assistance to the Palestinians if they continue to pursue United Nations recognition or form a unity government that includes Hamas, a terrorist group dedicated to Israel's destruction.


Egypt is in many ways the fulcrum of the Arab world.  Mitt Romney will orient U.S. policy to encourage the development of an Egyptian government that represents all Egyptians, maintains peace with Israel, and promotes peace throughout the region. He will:

  • Condition the $1.3 billion in U.S. military assistance to Egypt on maintaining its peace agreement with Israel. Place conditions of good governance and peaceful relations on the $250 million in economic assistance, $1 billion in debt cancelation pledges, and $1 billion in OPIC loan guarantees the United States grants to Egypt.
  • Engage G-8 partners, the World Bank, and the European Investment Bank to use their collective influence and place conditions of good governance and peaceful relations on the billions they have pledged to Egypt.


Both America's humanitarian and strategic interests would be served by the departure of Bashar al-Assad.  Mitt Romney will make clear that Assad must go and that no way forward in Syria will include Assad. He will:

  • Work with partners to call on Syria's military to protect civilians rather than attack them, drive a wedge between the Assad regime and the wider Alawite minority and other minorities, assure them of a role in a post-Assad Syria if they abandon the regime, and increase the chances for reconciliation with the majority Sunni population after Assad's fall.
  • Make clear that the United States and our allies will support the Syrian opposition when the time comes for them to forge a post-Assad government.
  • Work with partners to identify, organize, and arm opposition groups aligned with U.S. interests.

Russia Policy

Mitt Romney will reset President Obama's "Reset" with Russia and implement a strategy to discourage aggressive or expansionist behavior on the part of Russia and encourage democratic political and economic reform. He will:

  • Review the implementation of the New START treaty and other decisions by the Obama Administration regarding America's nuclear posture and arms-control policies to determine whether they serve the best interests and national security of the United States.
  • Pursue policies to reduce Europe's reliance on Russian sources of energy. He will explore increasing technical assistance to the Eastern European nations currently developing the Turkey-to-Austria Nabucco natural gas pipeline and work with the private sector to spur access to untapped shale energy resources in Western Europe.
  • Deter Russian ambitions to its south by enhancing diplomatic ties, increasing military training and assistance, and negotiating trade pacts and educational exchanges with Central Asian states.
  • Forthrightly confront the Russian government over its authoritarian practices. Mitt Romney will increase the flow of information into Russia that highlights the virtues of freedom and a government free of corruption. He will bring more leaders of Russian civil society to the United States on exchange programs.

Latin America Policy

A Romney administration will support democratic allies and market-based economic relationships, contain destabilizing internal forces such as criminal gangs and terrorists, and oppose destabilizing outside influences such as Iran. Mitt Romney will:

  • In his first 100 days, launch a vigorous public diplomacy and trade promotion effort in the region—the Campaign for Economic Opportunity in Latin America (CEOLA)—to encourage trade and investment between the United States and Latin America and draw a stark contrast between the virtues of democracy and free trade and the ills of the authoritarian socialist model offered by Cuba and Venezuela.
  • Build on separate existing anti-drug and counterterrorism initiatives to form a unified Hemispheric Joint Task Force on Crime and Terrorism to coordinate intelligence and enforcement among allies to combat regional terrorist groups and criminal networks and sever connections to foreign terrorist entities like Hezbollah.
  • Explore with Mexico the need for enhanced military-to-military training cooperation and intelligence sharing to combat our mutual challenge of drug cartels and criminal gangs. Complete a high-tech fence to secure the southern border.

North Korea Policy

Mitt Romney will commit to eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons and its nuclear-weapons infrastructure. He will:

  • Work with allies to institute harsher sanctions on North Korea, such as cracking down on financial institutions that service the North Korean regime and sanctioning companies that conduct commercial shipping in and out of North Korea.
  • Step up enforcement of the Proliferation Security Initiative to constrain North Korean illicit exports.
  • Work to persuade China to commit to North Korea's disarmament. Mitt Romney will discuss with China how the international community will address the humanitarian and security issues that will arise should North Korea disintegrate. And by reinvigorating our military and counter-proliferation relationships with South Korea, Japan, and others regional allies, he will demonstrate to the Chinese that they should join the coordinated effort or be left behind.

Diplomatic & National Security Institutions

Mitt Romney will empower our diplomatic, assistance, and national security institutions to best secure our enduring national interests and ideals. He will:

  • Reorganize our diplomatic and assistance agencies to foster joint regional strategic planning by placing unified budgetary and directive authority under one official responsible for all diplomatic and assistance programs within a particular region. This structure will mirror the regional military combatant command structure.
  • In the first 100 days, order a full interagency initiative to formulate a unified national strategy to deter and defend against the growing threats of militarized cyber-attacks, cyber-terrorism, cyber-espionage, and private-sector intellectual property theft.
  • Order an initiative to combat homegrown terrorism by redoubling efforts to work with state and local authorities to share intelligence "vertically," enhance partnerships with Muslim-American communities to identify threats and suspicious activity, and develop our database of knowledge about the hallmarks of radicalization and recruitment. The strategy will contain measures to preserve privacy and our constitutional rights.
  • Work with Congress to update the chief source of statutory authority for the war on terrorism to authorize the use of force against any foreign terrorist entity that is waging war against the United States.
  • Work with Congress to unify the over 108 authorizing committees in Congress that oversee the Department of Homeland Security.

Setting a New Tone: Eight Actions for the First Hundred Days

  1. Restore America's Naval Credibility

Announce an initiative to increase the naval shipbuilding rate from nine per year to approximately fifteen per year and sustain the carrier fleet at eleven. This will restore America's presence and credibility on the high seas with a view toward deterring aggressive behavior and maintaining the peace.

  1. Strengthen and Repair Relationships with Steadfast Allies

Take swift measures to restore and enhance relationships with our most steadfast allies. Actions include reaffirming as a vital national interest Israel's existence as Jewish state, declaring the U.S.-U.K. special relationship to be a foundation for peace and liberty, and beginning talks to strengthen cooperation with Mexico on the shared problem of drugs and security.

  1. Enhance Our Deterrent Against Iran

Reaffirm that Iran's possession of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. Order the regular presence of a carrier task force in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region. Begin discussions with Israel to increase levels of military and intelligence coordination and assistance. 

  1. Commit to a Robust National Missile Defense System

Begin process of reversing Obama-era budget cuts to national missile defense and raise to a top priority the full deployment of a multilayered national ballistic-missile defense system.

  1. Establish a Single Point of Responsibility for All Soft Power Resources in the Middle East

Work with Congress and relevant Executive branch agencies to organize all diplomatic and assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one Regional Director with unified budgetary and directive authority. One official with responsibility and accountability will set regional priorities and direct our soft power toward ensuring the Arab Spring realizes its promise.

  1. Launch Campaign for Economic Opportunity in Latin America

Capitalize on the benefits arising from the ratification of the Colombian and Panamanian free trade agreements to launch a robust public-diplomacy and trade promotion campaign in Latin America that contrasts the benefits of democracy, free trade, and economic opportunity with the ills caused by the authoritarian model of Venezuela and Cuba.

  1. Conduct a Full Review of Our Transition in Afghanistan

Conduct a full interagency review of our military and assistance presence in Afghanistan to determine the presence necessary to secure our gains and successfully complete our mission. The review will involve discussions with generals on the ground and the delivery of the best recommendations of our military commanders. 

  1. Order Interagency Initiative on Cybersecurity

Order a full interagency initiative to formulate a unified national strategy to deter and defend against the growing threats of militarized cyber-attacks, cyber-terrorism, cyber-espionage, and private-sector intellectual property theft. U.S. defense and intelligence resources must be fully engaged in this critical aspect of national defense.

Mitt Romney, Romney Campaign Press Release - Fact Sheet: The Romney Plan For An American Century Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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