It is time for us as a nation to face up to the responsibilities we have. We must stop making war on people who have not attacked us. We must apologize to those we have harmed and make restitution and we must work internationally towards peace.
That is why I am supporting legislation to establish a Federal Level Department of Peace and Nonviolence. The primary function of a United States Department of Peace will be to research, articulate and facilitate nonviolent solutions to domestic and international conflict.
The Department of Peace will facilitate the most cutting edge ways to wage peace. From nonviolent communication skills, to conflict resolution techniques and cultural relationship building, the Department of Peace will employ proven and effective strategies for diminishing violence in our country and in our world.
As a member of the President's cabinet, the Secretary of Peace will provide the President; the State Department; the Departments of Defense, Education and Justice with greatly expanded problem solving options. The Department of Peace will also provide support for state and local government to address issues of domestic violence.
The Department of Peace would research and analyze foreign policy and recommend to the President ways to address the root causes of war. A Peace Academy, on par with the Military Academies, would train civilian peacekeepers and the military in the latest nonviolent conflict resolution techniques and approaches. The Department would also provide expert advice to the President when diffusing or dealing with international crises.
Domestically, the Department would be responsible for developing new policies that address issues such as child abuse, domestic violence, gang violence, and cultural and racial violence. Statistics reveal that each year, medical expenses from domestic violence alone total at least $3 to $5 billion. Businesses forfeit another $100 million in lost wages, sick leave, absenteeism and non-productivity due to domestic violence. Teaching violence prevention and mediation to America's school children is just one of the many ways a U.S. Department of Peace would reduce violence in our homes and schools.
The idea of a Department of Peace is not new. In fact it dates back to 1792 and it has been proposed numerous times over the course of this nation's history. Currently, no other federal agency or department looks at the root causes of violence or provides the President with counsel. There is an urgent need for a Department of Peace. Nuclear proliferation creates the critical need to interrupt the current cycles of violence internationally and domestically, criminal and domestic violence places intense financial pressures on the city, county and state government.
We need a Department of Peace in order to provide new, proactive approaches to violence reduction both domestically and internationally. Our traditional political problem solving methods focus primarily on addressing symptoms of violence, such as imprisonment for offenders and engagement in armed conflict.
The United States should be as effective in addressing the sources of violence as we are in addressing its symptoms. A Department of Peace will reduce international and domestic violence, it will help to build peace making efforts among conflicting communities both here and abroad and it will support our military with complementary approaches to ending violence.
Peace belongs to all of us, so let's make it part of every aspect of our lives, including how we think, how we act, and how we govern.