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September 15, 1998

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I am confident that our forward-deployed and "first-to-fight" units are highly ready, and our overall force is fully capable of carrying our our national military strategy. But I am also determined that we do not relax our vigilance to keep our forces ready to protect America's security needs today and well into the 21st century.

President Bill Clinton
September 15, 1998

Today, President Clinton meets with Secretary of Defense William Cohen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior operational commanders of America's armed forces at the National Defense University to discuss military readiness. The President will call on Congress to support his defense priorities to ensure that our military remains well-equipped and capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st Century.

America's Armed Forces Are The Best-Trained, Best-Equipped And Best-Led In The World. As we move into the 21st Century, our men and women in uniform are fully capable of carrying out our national military strategy and meeting America's defense commitments around the world. The President is committed to ensuring that we maintain this high level of readiness.

Military Readiness Is The President's Top Defense Priority. The President has directed all levels of our military command to monitor and address military readiness. In recent months, the Clinton Administration has taken important steps to strengthen military readiness:

  • Securing an additional $1 billion in military readiness funds through a budget reprogramming bill that Congress passed earlier this year;
  • Providing emergency funding for our peacekeeping operation in Bosnia, which ensured that key readiness and training accounts were protected;
  • Developing a strategy for balancing near-term readiness and long-term modernization to ensure that our fighting force has the cutting-edge technologies to dominate the battlefields of the future;
  • Improving the quality of life for our men and women in uniform and recruiting and retaining a new generation of Americans for our all-volunteer forces.

The President Calls On Congress To Support Military Readines by funding the Administration's defense budget priorities. These important initiatives include:

  • Protecting military readiness accounts by funding peacekeeping operations in Bosnia during fiscal year 1999 through emergency funds;
  • Maintaining balance in our defense budget by not funding defense procurements that military commanders have not requested;
  • Streamlining our military infrastructure by authorizing additional base closures and ensuring that defense funds support readiness as well as operations and maintenance.

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