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"As Commander in Chief, I have no higher duty than this -- to give our troops the tools to take on new missions, while maintaining their readiness to defend our country and defeat any adversary; to make sure they can deploy away from home, knowing their families have the quality of life they deserve; and to make certain their service is not only rewarding, but well-rewarded, from recruitment to retirement."

President Clinton
Radio Address to the Nation
January 2, 1999

President Clinton has worked to ensure that America's military is the best-equipped, best-trained and best-prepared fighting force in the world. When America's interests have been at stake, in Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, the Persian Gulf, East Timor and other locations around the world, our forces have consistently performed with distinction. At the same time, the Clinton Administration has taken steps to transform the military to deal with new kinds of threats and challenges the United States will face in the 21st Century. President Clinton has matched new resources with new commitments, requesting and receiving from Congress billions in additional defense spending in 1999, reversing declines that began a decade ago.


  • Reversed a decade and a half decline in defense budgets. Defense spending declined 24 percent from 1985 - 1993. After overseeing a restructuring of the military in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War, provided increased funding for defense and continued increases are planned.
  • Gave troops the resources necessary to properly train and effectively operate anywhere in the world. Today the United States spends 22 percent more on operations and maintenance in current dollars than it did in 1993.
  • Improved readiness. The percent of Forces Most Ready for active Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force is comparable to 1993 readiness levels. In addition, in FY 2000, President Clinton provided a program increase to the Defense Department of $112 billion, much of which addresses readiness issues. President Clinton's budget provided an increase of $4.4 billion for FY 2001 and adds $28.6 billion over the next five years for readiness. This ensures that we give top priority to support unit training and equipment maintenance, recruitment and retention goals, and sufficient spare parts.
  • Worked to provide the right incentives and quality of life for members of the U.S. military. The Clinton Administration has implemented the largest pay raise in a generation while improving benefits, and restoring full retirement plans for a large portion of the force.
  • Proposed, and Congress enacted, the largest single increase in military compensation in a generation. Some raises for those at critical points in their careers were 10.3 percent and at least 4.8 percent across the board for every person in uniform. For FY 2001, President Clinton requested another base pay raise of 3.7 percent, coupled with a major boost to housing allowances for those living off-base, and several improvements in health care.
  • Evaluated the weapons systems needed for the 21st Century and the investments needed to meet new threats to our security. The Armed Services are hard at work on transforming and modernizing our weapons systems. For the fourth straight year in a row, the Clinton Administration proposed real increases to the military procurement account -- from 1997 to 2001, the budget increased 33 percent, from $45.4 billion to $60.3 billion.
  • Funded the Science & Technology budget even while U.S. forces were downsized following the end of the Cold War. The $7.5 billion to fund Science and Technology for FY 2001 exceeds what the rest of the world combined will spend in the same period.
  • Reduced the number of service members stationed overseas by 50 percent since the latter days of the Cold War. Of a total of approximately 250,000 troops overseas today, 220,000 are either permanently stationed abroad with operational or support units, or participate in routine deployments for training. Just over 30,000 are engaged in "peacekeeping" or "non-routine" operations. Of those:

Nearly 20,000 of the 30,000 are in the Persian Gulf;

Approximately 12,000 are in the Balkans. Europe bears the heaviest burden, both in terms of troops and assistance aimed at civilian reconstruction. U.S. forces in that region comprise approximately 20 percent of the 60,000 NATO and other troops that ensure stability in the Balkans, while sustaining our leadership role in NATO.


October 5, 1999

President Clinton signs the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2000 in ceremony at the Pentagon. The act authorizes a comprehensive program of pay and retirement improvements that add up to the biggest increase in military compensation in a generation, increases bonuses for enlistment and reenlistment and provides incentives needed to recruit and retain our military personnel.

January 2, 1999

In his Weekly Radio Address to the nation, President Clinton announces that resources for readiness and modernization in the FY 2000 defense budget will increase by more than $12 billion and the first long- term, sustained increase in defense spending in over a decade: $112 billion for personnel, readiness, modernization and facilities accounts. The President also announces that he will request a 4.4 percent pay increase for military personnel in FY 2000 and restoration of the 20 year retirement benefit from 40percent to 50 percent of average base pay over the last three years of service.

October 17, 1998

President Clinton signed the FY 1998 Defense Appropriations Act, fully funding many of the Defense Department's critical readiness programs and supports our commitments to a better quality of life for our military personnel and their families.


Remarks by the President at the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, DC, January 29, 1998.

Remarks by the President at the Commissioning of USS Harry S. Truman, Norfolk, Virginia, July 25, 1998.

Remarks by the President to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Commanders in Chief of the

U.S. Armed Forces at the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, DC, September 15, 1998.

Statement by the President on Military Readiness Funding, November 11, 1998.

Radio Address by the President to the Nation, January 2, 1999.

Remarks by the President to the Economic Club of Detroit, January 8, 1999.

State of the Union Address, January 19, 1999.

Remarks by the President on FY 2000 budget, February 1, 1999.

Remarks by the President at the Signing of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, October 5, 1999.

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