Senator Sam Nunn has made an enormous contribution to the nation's security,
and his legacy will live on long after he leaves the Senate next year.
The key to Sam Nunn's success is his ability to build a bi-partisan consensus
for a strong national defense. His belief that good security policy is a
matter of principle, not politics, has made him a valuable counselor to me and
to the nine other secretaries of defense who have served since he was elected
to the Senate in 1972. Presidents and world leaders also seek his advice.
In the 1970s, Sen. Nunn helped pass the Nunn-Warner legislation that set
higher recruiting standards and boosted pay and benefits for the new
all-volunteer military. The changes laid the foundation for the professional,
highly capable force that defends our nation today. During the same decade,
his report, "NATO and the New Soviet Threat," led to a series of changes that
strengthened the North Atlantic Alliance. He never lost sight of the central
role that NATO and Europe play in America's security.
In the 1980s, Sen. Nunn worked tirelessly to pass and implement the
Goldwater-Nichols Act that has led a major improvement in our ability to
conduct military operations. These reforms strengthened the warfighting
capability of commanders in the field, enhanced joint operations and insured
that the president and the secretary of defense get the best military advice.
In the current decade, Sen. Nunn's vision and legislative creativity produced
the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. This has helped former
Soviet states dismantle their nuclear arsenals and convert former defense
industries to civilian production.
The United States is stronger and the world is safer because of Sam Nunn's
bold and far-reaching policies. I will miss his leadership when he leaves the
Senate next year, but I and others devoted to a strong secure nation will
continue to rely on his wise judgment and sound advise.