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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 424-99
September 15, 1999

SECRETARY COHEN STATEMENT ON U.S. COMMISSION ON NATIONAL SECURITY/21ST CENTURY'S FIRST REPORT

Our nation's security challenges have changed dramatically over the last 50 years and promise to continue to do so in the 21st century. To explain the future impact of these challenges, I formally chartered the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century (USCNS/21) in 1998.

Prominent leaders from throughout the country serve as Commissioners on this study. Together they represent some of our nation's wisest leaders, all with impressive backgrounds in governance or national security. I am pleased to receive this distinguished group's first report.

This first report sets the context for the Commission's next two phases. By next Spring they will draft a set of U.S. interests and objectives for the first quarter of the 21st century and propose a strategy to meet them. They will then conduct an assessment of the structures and processes involved in the formulation and execution of national security policy. To the extent future challenges and current systems are incompatible, the Commission will recommend changes and draft a plan to implement them. In a way, this report poses the questions to be addressed -- the next two phases offer answers.

I look forward to reading this and future reports of the Commission. I also want to sincerely thank them for their time, their insights and their commitment to our nation's future.