What We Do
The Security Policy Reform Institute is an independent, grassroots think tank that promotes a principled U.S. foreign policy. We fill the gap created by foreign policy think tanks that fail to connect security practices abroad to Americans’ most pressing economic, social, and political needs at home. Our analysis and empirical research reveal how America’s national security establishment not only prevents us from realizing domestic policy priorities, but instead produce policies that make us less safe, and without our consent. We produce alternatives to the national security establishment’s definition of ‘security’ toward one that serves the most pressing needs of the working-class.
The policies produced by the national security establishment claim to be for the benefit of all of us. The evidence suggests otherwise: these policies are to the exclusive benefit of the political and economic elite. This is a bipartisan problem. Political elites from both parties have reached a consensus to ignore the tradeoffs inherent to American security policy. We show how traditional security narratives with broad bipartisan support fuel malign practices abroad and at home. Congress allocates more than half of discretionary spending to the military: every dollar spent on the military is unavailable for the most urgent domestic needs, such as healthcare, social programs, education, or affordable housing initiatives. We propose real alternatives to disrupt the pursuit of ‘security’ abroad that makes Americans more insecure at home.
Foreign Policy is Domestic Policy
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower (April 26, 1953)
Foreign policy is the most obvious realm of security politics, but it’s not the only one. Militarized practices abroad inevitably circle back to shape daily life at home. We show how a post-September 11 security orientation has eroded Americans’ quality of daily life through militarization of police forces, mass surveillance, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite detention without trial. Ultimately, practices undertaken in the interest of undefined ‘security’ objectives have eroded Americans’ real freedoms, and made us — and the rest of the world — more insecure.
We categorically refuse corporate donations. As a grassroots initiative funded exclusively by small donations, the Security Policy Reform Institute is answerable only to the same American public whose interests we promote through our policy analysis and research. SPRI is for and by the American people.
Our core tenets provide a roadmap for aligning foreign and domestic policy to improve the material condition of the working class. Our tenets express our values. Our values inform our research.
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