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Rumsfeld Praises Rice, Hadley Nominations

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

QUITO, Ecuador, Nov. 16, 2004 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld praised President Bush's two nominations today to the national security team: Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state and Steven Hadley as national security adviser.

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Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gives his impressions on President Bush's national security team nominations while traveling in Quito, Ecuador, Nov. 16 for the Defense Ministerial of the Americas conference. Photo by Master Sgt. James Bowman, USAF

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"I think the president has made some very fine choices," the secretary said. "I think it will make up a very good team."

Bush announced the changes in his national defense team today, following the Nov. 15 announcement that Colin Powell will step down as secretary of state.

Rumsfeld called Rice "an enormous talent" who is experienced, bright and has "a terrific relationship with the president, which is a valuable thing."

The secretary said he was friends with Rice long before working with her in the Bush administration and that "we have had a very close working relationship over the last four years."

"I have no doubt at all but that Condi, as secretary of state of the United States, will represent our country exceedingly well, that she will be a very effective voice in the National Security Council process," Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld also lauded the choice of Hadley, who has served as Rice's deputy for the past four years, as the new national security adviser. The secretary said he has "a great deal of respect" for Hadley.

He said he is confident Hadley will serve well in the difficult position of national security adviser "to make sure that all of the different perspectives, statutory responsibilities (and) ideas are elevated and surfaced in a way that is orderly and helps the president make the best possible decisions for the American people."

The secretary dismissed questions about possible tension among the members of the national security team. The president, Rumsfeld said, wants to hear different perspectives when making important decisions.

"It is the task, the responsibility, the duty of people who are participating in that national security process to make sure that the issues are raised and discussed, and the pros and cons considered and weighed, and that the president knows their best judgment and their best advice," he said. "That is what the law requires, and it is a healthy process. It has been a good process."

Rumsfeld said this process "has worked very well in this administration" because the president is deeply engaged in national security issues and is "a superb asker of questions and prober of thoughts and ideas."

In his announcement today, Bush praised Rice for her service as national security adviser.

"During the last four years I've relied on her counsel, benefited from her great experience and appreciated her sound and steady judgment," he said. "In Dr. Rice, the world will see the strength, the grace and the decency of our country."

Bush noted that once confirmed by the Senate, Rice will take office at a critical time for the United States. "We're a nation at war; we're leading a large coalition against a determined enemy; we're putting in place new structures and institutions to confront outlaw regimes, to oppose proliferation of dangerous weapons and materials, and to break up terror networks," he said.

"The United States has undertaken a great calling of history to aid the forces of reform and freedom in the broader Middle East so that that region can grow in hope, instead of growing in anger," Bush said.

The president said he and Rice have been proud to serve with Colin Powell. Bush called Powell "one of the most effective and admired diplomats in America's history."

Bush also praised Hadley, who he said "has done a superb job" as Rice's deputy. "Steve is a man of wisdom and good judgment. He has earned my trust, and I look forward to his continued vital service on my national security team," the president said.


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Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice
Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley
Secretary of State Colin Powell

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