THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 5, 2001
Strengthening and Supporting the Military
?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.?
Radio Address to the Nation
January 2, 1999
Our military forces are ready to fight and better prepared to meet the
challenges of today and tomorrow. 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 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.
a Increasing resources. The Administration has reversed a decade and a
half decline in defense budgets. Defense spending declined 24% from 1985 -
1993. After overseeing a restructuring of the military in the aftermath of
the end of the Cold War, we provided increased funding for defense and
continued increases are planned.
a Giving our troops the resources necessary to properly train and
effectively operate anywhere in the world. Today we spend 22% more on
operations and maintenance in current dollars than we did in 1993.
a Improving 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 FY00, the President provided a program increase to
the Defense Department of $112B, much of which addresses readiness issues.
The President?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.
a Doing what?s right for our people. Over the last two years, the
Administration has worked hard to provide the right incentives and quality
of life for our military members. The Administration is implementing the
largest pay raise in a generation while improving benefits, and restoring
full retirement plans for a large portion of the force.
? For FY00 President Clinton 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% and at least 4.8%
across the board for every person in uniform. For FY01, President Clinton
requested another base pay raise of 3.7%, coupled with a major boost to
housing allowances for those living off-base, and several improvements in
a Investing wisely for the future. The Administration has evaluated the
kinds of weapons systems needed for the 21st Century and the kinds of
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 Administration has 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.
a Remaining ahead of the competition. The Administration has continued
to robustly fund the Science & Technology budget even while our forces were
downsized following the end of the Cold War. The $7.5B to fund Science and
Technology for FY?01 exceeds what the rest of the world combined will spend
in the same period.
a Reducing overseas deployments. Since the latter days of the Cold War
in 1988 and 1989, the Administration has reduced the number of service
members stationed overseas by 50%. 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 ? protecting our
vital national interests, while containing Saddam Hussein; and
? Approximately 12,000 are in the Balkans. European nations bear the
heaviest burden, both in terms of troops and assistance aimed at civilian
reconstruction. Our forces in that region comprise less than 20% of the
60,000 NATO and other troops that ensure stability in the Balkans, while
sustaining our leadership role in NATO.
# # #