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Military News Briefs for the Week of May 25, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2001 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending May 25, 2001.)

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BUSH SAYS NEW MILITARY NEEDS INNOVATORS

American military might must draw on new technologies and strategies in the 21st Century, but those forces will only be used in accordance with bedrock American values, said President Bush during commencement exercises at the Naval Academy May 25.

"We must build forces based upon the revolutionary advances in the technology of war that will allow us to keep the peace by redefining war on our terms," Bush said in Annapolis, Md. Bush also told the new ensigns and Marine second lieutenants that he is committed to rewarding visionary thinking.

Bush said he is committed to building a future force that is defined less by size and more by mobility and swiftness.

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BUSH PLEDGES SUPPORT AS 100 TROOPS REENLIST AT WHITE HOUSE

One hundred members from all five armed services raised their right hands May 23 and re-upped in the White House East Room.

President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld both spoke before the re-enlistment ceremony, with Rumsfeld telling the troops their task now is to "protect our country from the unknown, uncertain, unseen and unexpected."

Before Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, administered the oath, Bush said he thought it was fitting for the service members to re-enlist in the White House.

"Every major military operation of the last 200 years was set in motion at the White House," Bush said. "The circumstances have varied greatly, but no president has ever had reason to doubt the ability and commitment of the American armed forces."

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TRICARE WORKS HARD TO BEEF UP CUSTOMER SERVICE

In December 1999, TRICARE was facing 30,535 claims still unpaid after 60 days. By March 2001, the grand total rode at four -- a 99.99 percent drop.

"Our feedback ... is that the field is reporting far, far fewer problems with TRICARE," said Air Force Col. Frank Cumberland. "Military community town hall meetings used to be all about TRICARE, but now people are more concerned with other quality of life issues. TRICARE is seen as a program that people like -- especially as they have more experience using it."

Cumberland is director of communications and customer service for the TRICARE Management Activity here. He said improvements in claims processing is just one example of TRICARE's commitment to customer service.

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MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

NATIONAL MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE

"From the Pentagon, there is visible a small, gently rolling corner of Arlington Cemetery. One cannot look upon its headstones, row on row, without being powerfully reminded of the great spirit of service and sacrifice that has defined this country from its very beginnings. With Memorial Day's dawn, we are called as a nation to remember these souls and all our honored dead, the men and women whose ultimate sacrifice guaranteed the liberties that we have enjoyed throughout the history of our nation."

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