Politics In Your Terms
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COUNTERING EMERGING THREATS




Issue - Public Safety


As we have taken decisive steps to address today's dangers from terrorism and to prevent future nuclear proliferation, we have also sought to bolster homeland security and head off emerging challenges, ranging from cyber and biological threats to climate change and transnational crime.

Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity threats represent one of the most serious potential national security, public safety, and economic challenges we face. The very technologies that empower us to lead and create also empower individual criminal hackers, organized criminal groups, terrorist networks, and other advanced nations to disrupt the critical infrastructure that is vital to our economy, commerce, public safety, and military. Defending against cyber threats requires networks that are secure, trustworthy, and resilient. The President and the administration have taken unprecedented steps to defend America from cyber attacks, including creating the first military command dedicated to cybersecurity and conducting a full review of the federal government's efforts to protect our information and our infrastructure. We will continue to take steps to deter, prevent, detect, and defend against cyber intrusions by investing in cutting-edge research and development, promoting cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy, and strengthening private sector and international partnerships. President Obama has supported comprehensive cybersecurity legislation that would help business and government protect against risks of cyber attacks while also safeguarding the privacy rights of our citizens. And, going forward, the President will continue to take executive action to strengthen and update our cyber defenses.

Biological Weapons. Other dangers pose direct and deadly risks to our health and well-being. The use of a lethal biological agent within a population center would threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. That's why President Obama outlined a National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats in 2009 to address the challenges from proliferation of biological weapons or their use by terrorists. We will continue to work at home with first responders and health officials to reduce the risks associated with unintentional or deliberate outbreaks of infectious disease. We will also continue our efforts with domestic and international partners to promote global health security and reinforce norms of safe and responsible conduct; obtain timely and accurate insight on current and emerging risks; take steps to reduce the potential for exploitation; expand our capability to prevent, attribute, and apprehend perpetrators of attacks; and communicate with all stakeholders. And we will build on existing public and private-sector efforts to prevent intentional contamination of the food supply.

Climate Change. The national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe. That is why, in addition to undertaking measures to enhance energy independence and promote efficiency, clean energy, and renewable sources of power here at home, the President and the Democratic Party have steadily worked to build an international framework to combat climate change. We will seek to implement agreements and build on the progress made during climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, working to ensure a response to climate change policy that draws upon decisive action by all nations. Our goal is an effective, international effort in which all major economies commit to reduce their emissions, nations meet their commitments in a transparent manner, and the necessary financing is mobilized so that developing countries can mitigate the effects of climate change and invest in clean energy technologies. That is why the Obama administration has taken a leadership role in ongoing climate negotiations, working to ensure that other major economies like China and India commit to taking meaningful action. It is also why we have worked regionally to build clean energy partnerships in Asia, the Americas, and Africa.

Transnational Crime. Transnational criminal networks also pose significant national security challenges. These networks continue to expand dramatically in size and scope, harming people worldwide, posing threats to stability, and subverting government institutions through corruption. Transnational criminal organizations have accumulated unprecedented wealth and power through the drug trade, arms smuggling, human trafficking, and other illicit activities, penetrating legitimate financial systems and destabilizing commercial markets. They extend their reach by forming alliances with terrorist organizations, government officials, and some state security services. That's why, in 2011, the Obama administration released a comprehensive Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. We are committed to a multidimensional approach that safeguards citizens, breaks the financial strength of criminal and terrorist networks, disrupts illicit trafficking networks, fights government corruption, strengthens the rule of law, bolsters judicial systems, and improves transparency. We have responded to this threat through aggressive targeting of the illicit financial infrastructure supporting cross-border criminal activity. And we will continue to coordinate with other nations and build their capacity to combat these threats.