Politics

Conservative Spotlight: National Defense Foundation Project

NATIONAL DEFENSE FOUNDATION PROJECT

In this day and age, with so many liberal politicians, pressure groups, and even ideologically fashionable Americans around who dislike the military (while enjoying the freedom and prosperity that it protects), many Americans think the Department of Defense needs a defense. Even though we are currently in a time of pro-military feeling and large budget increases for the Pentagon, defense doves and leftist social engineers have not gone away.

“The National Defense Foundation Project is designed to develop tomorrow’s leaders with an understanding of the necessity of maintaining a military strength in the United States unparalleled to any in the world,” says a 501(c)(3) organization founded by some of the same people behind the National Defense PAC, which supports military veterans who are running for Congress, and the National Defense Committee PAC, which supports congressional candidates who are pro-military even if they are not veterans. This group takes a long-term, indirect approach to promoting the military. “The National Defense Foundation Project defines itself as a foundation focused on research and education activities tied to national defense, homeland security, and military veterans,” the foundation says. “We seek to fund young Americans who are interested in learning about the national defense community of Washington, D.C.”

The foundation sponsors internships and currently is researching the enfranchisement of deployed servicemen. Many deployed military members-and a great percentage of them are deployed at this time, which is expected to continue for a long time to come-are effectively denied voting privileges. “They’re out at sea,” said Rear Adm. James Carey (Ret.), chairman of the foundation. “There’s no mail out there.”

“Case in point: American nuke submarines go on 60-day patrols…,” wrote Carey in an article for military.com. “The maximum advance time that any county clerk will mail out a military absentee voter ballot is 45 days. Figure it out. The math just doesn’t work. Nuclear submarines don’t come to the surface to make a mail run; thus, anyone at sea on a submarine isn’t going to get his military absentee voter ballot no matter when it’s mailed. . . .

“Case in point no. 2: A Marine or soldier is deployed in hostile territory in Afghanistan and sleeping in a fox hole miles from any base camp support. Do you think the military mail clerks are going to be able to get the absentee ballot to him or her?”

Said Carey, “We have kids going off to risk their lives and they don’t even get to vote for the people who sent them there.”

So in 2004, the Pentagon will have SERVE, the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment, allowing some servicemen to vote as part of a project to test the security and reliability of electronic voting. SERVE’s goals include “determine the scalability of Internet voting technology to large numbers of voters and jurisdictions” and “getting a better understanding of potential hurdles.” Ten states are expected to participate.

Even servicemen in war zones, said Carey, who served in Vietnam, have access to the Internet these days. Even “the Special Ops kid,” he said. “There are satellite connections through laptops. . . . Some Democrats have circulated a memo about how to exclude absentee military ballots from being counted. We want research into the military ballot issue.” He noted that this is not something that the federal government can accomplish unilaterally, since states hold elections. “This is a state issue. This is a county issue. This includes getting the county clerk to change,” he said.

The National Defense Foundation Project is also related to the National Defense Committee, a c4 group under the IRS rules whose website says, “Part of the solution involves giving our forces the tools to win any conflict in which they are engaged. Just as important, the U.S. military must be used as a platform for national security, not for social engineering. The most effective way to ensure that the armed forces are properly engaged is to ensure that those making the decisions have a keen understanding and appreciation for how our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, live, train and fight.”

For those who remember the good old days, said Carey, “We like to say we’re the American Security Council for the 21st Century.”

The Defense Foundation Project may be reached at 2800 Shirlington Rd., Suite 401, Arlington, VA 22206 (703-824-0818; fax: 703-824-0821; e-mail: [email protected]; webstie: www.nationaldefensefoundation.org).


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