THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES: # 3 DEFENSE; CARTER
Spending for defense When Jimmy Carter was running for president in 1976, he promised to cut defense spending by $5 billion to $7 billion a year. Carter's fiscal 1977 budget (his first one) included $2.8 billion less for defense than President Ford has proposed for the same period. But early in his administration, Carter pledged to America's European allies that he would increase the US defense budget by 3 percent a year in real (noninflationary) terms to meet NATO obligations.
Besides shifting his position since 1976 on the overall defense budget, Carter has moved from disapproving a new nuclear aircraft carrier to signing an appropriations bill with initial funding for one, and from delaying the MX missile program begun in the Ford administration to approving it and requesting initial funding.
The Democratic platform says the increase in defense spending since 1976 has been necessary to, among other things, "assure a high quality of military personnel, an effective nuclear deterrent capability, a capable conventional fighting force, and an improved intelligence capability." Personnel problems
On registration and the draft, Carter says the recent registration of 19 -year-olds was successful and was "a clear signal of our determination to allies and potential adversaries." He also sees it as a "good recruiting tool" for the volunteer services, since 15 percent of those who registered indicated interest in armed forces careers.
The President says he believes the volunteer services can meet foreseeable defense needs, but he "would not hesitate to reinstate the draft" if it seemed necessary.
Carter this year proposed a 6.2 percent increase in military pay and benefits , but when Congress enacted a bill providing an 11.7 percent military pay raise, he readily signed it.
The Democratic platform says: "Manpower shortages must be addressed promptly. In order to prevent the necessity of a peacetime draft, the all-volunteer force must have wage standards which will retain experienced personnel or recruit new personnel. . . .
"We will give the highest priority to combat training, to an effective reserve and guard force, and to sufficient supplies, spare parts, fuel, and ammunition." Meeting obligations abroad
Carter cites the agreement with US allies in Europe to deploy theater-nuclear forces there and "meet the threat posed by the Soviet buildup of SS-20 missiles and Backfire bombers, . . . the buildup of our forces in the Persian Gulf region , and the agreement by some of the nations in that region to let us use their facilities.
We will continue to fund our share of the force improvements agreed upon by NATO and expand our ability to reinforce NATO ground and tactical air forces in Central Europe."
Carter also says: "We will continue to improve our ability to respond rapidly to non-NATO contingencies, particularly in the Middle East and Persian Gulf regions. Rapid-deployment forces can range in size from a few ships or air squadrons to as many as 100,000 soldiers. We have already increased our presence in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf region and created a permanent Caribbean Joint Task Force headquarters in Florida. Planned improvements over the next five years include the development of a new fleet of large intercontinental-range cargo aircraft, and the procurement of . . . ships that will carry heavy equipment and supplies into crisis areas." Strategic nuclear deterrent
Carter defends his decision to deploy the so-called MX missile (which actually would not be in place until at least 1986), but he has pulled back on the "race track" mode, which ran into heavy opposition from the residents of the Nevada-Utah area, where it would have been placed. His alternative, a huge road network interspersed with shelters, also is opposed by many residents in the area.
The President says: "We very carefully assessed how to remove the vulnerability of our silobased missiles. The MX missile in a mobile deployment mode, I am convinced, is the best investment.* It's economically sound. It is a cheaper system than the Minuteman or the B-52 bomber system was. It's cheaper than our submarine-launched missiles. . . . And, in my judgment, it corrects that vulnerability factor due to the increased accuracy of Soviet intercontinental missiles." (Initial cost of the MX has been put at from $33 billion to $54 billion, depending on how it is deployed.)
Carter says he will not consider reactivating the B-1 bomber program. He puts his confidence in cruise missiles, B-52s, and missiles subs.
He accepts "essential equivalence" with the Soviets in nuclear capability. Conventional forces
To the charge that US forces are not ready for action, Carter answers: "The fact is that 6 divisions overseas and 4 of our 10 divisions in the US are fully combat ready. The Army is more combat-ready than it was three years ago. All of the major military forces deployed overseas in potential combat areas are combat-ready. It is normal for those divisions in the continental United States not to be up to their full combat strength. We're improving those as time goes on. . . ."
Carter further pledges: "We will expand our shipbuilding program, with an emphasis on antibomber and antisubmarine warfare capabilities, and on defenses against cruise missiles. By the end of 1981, the Navy will have 542 ships, an increase of 11 from 1980. A force of about 550 ships is planned for 1990. Over the next five years, emphasis on highly capable anti-air-warfare ships, along with the continuing production of frigates and nuclear submarines, will provide the Navy with the ships it needs to maintain US maritime superiority.
"We will continue to fund our share of the force improvements agreed upon by NATO and expand our ability to reinforce NATO ground and tactical air forces in Central Europe." Intelligence agencies
Jimmy Carter in 1976 promised reforms in the intelligence agencies. As President, he did reorganize the agencies and placed curbs on covert activities, electronic counterspionage, and surveillance of American citizens and resident aliens.
Among positions taken by either the President or his director of Central Intelligence, Adm. Stansfield Turner, regarding still-pending legislation for an intelligence "charter" are: that the charter should give the intelligence community greater leeway, rather than less, to conduct its operations; that congressional oversight continue to be restricted to two committees; that "prior notification" to Congress on covert activities is "excessive intrusion" into a president's conduct of foreign affairs; that the president not be required to approve all covert operations personally; that the CIA be exempted from most requirements of the Freedom of Information Act; that the CIA not be barred from using the news media, the clergy, or academic institutions as "cover" for intelligence operations; and that anyone -- not just present or former government employees -- be subject to criminal penalties for disclosing the names of purported "covert agents."