PHILADELPHIA — The Democratic platform approved by party leaders earlier this week calls for strengthening the military through "predictable" funding, less reduced dependence on defense contractors and better protections for minorities y groups in the ranks.
Like the GOP platform approved in Cleveland last week, the document is not a strict guideline for the remaining months of the campaign but instead a general outline of party priorities and goals for the next four years.
But unlike the Republican platform, the Democratic platform does mention GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump multiple times, calling out his campaign's statements and policies of his campaign as dangerous for America.
"Donald Trump has called our military ‘a disaster,’" one section reads. "We reject that view of our brave men and women in serving in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. They perform admirably while sacrificing immeasurably."
The platform states that "America must continue to have the strongest military in the world" but stops short of calling for significant defense funding hikes favored by conservatives.
Instead, it calls for leaders to "prioritize military readiness by making sure our active, reserve and National Guard components remain the best trained and equipped in the world." It backs repealing defense budget caps passed by Congress in 2011, an elusive compromise for lawmakers over the last five years.
Authors also included a mandatory audit of the Pentagon in the platform, and a vow to "end waste in the defense budget." Overall, Democrats are backing a "a more agile and flexible force" promoted by President Barack Obama during his time in office.
The platform specifically rejects any ban on immigrants on the basis of religion, as Trump has promised by Trump on the campaign trail.
It also promotes diversity as a strength of the American military.
"We are proud of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell," it states, a reference to the law, approved during Bill Clinton's tenure at president, prohibiting openly gay troops from serving in the military. "We are also proud of the opening of combat positions to women. Our military is strongest when people of all races, religions, sexual orientations, and gender identities are honored for their service to our country."
To that end, Democratic leaders call for "addressing the scourge of military sexual assault" by bolstering providing better prosecutions of attackers and enhancing better treatment services for victims.
The platform calls for supporting military families "with jobs, education, childcare and health care."
"We will promote family-friendly policies and champion efforts to care for our military family members, especially for the spouses and children who have to rebuild their lives after the loss of a loved one or life-altering injury or disability," the document states.
The platform pledges to deal with terrorism, naming the Islamic State group specifically, but also promises more generally to "strengthen our homeland security, deal wisely and firmly with those who seek to imperil America or our partners, deter aggression, and promote peace."
The full platform is available at the Democratic party’s website.
Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.