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Deputy Secretary Hamre Bids Farewell

Special to American Forces Press Service

Washington, March 29, 2000 – It has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life to serve as your Deputy Secretary of Defense.

These past several years have been a time of great change, unexpected challenges and hard-won progress for our armed forces. Under Secretary Cohen's leadership, we sustained readiness, improved pay, retirement, recruiting and quality of life, while meeting military challenges in the Balkans, Southeast Asia and in the Pacific. New threats emerged, as seen in the bombings of our embassies in Africa, cyber-attacks on our information systems, natural disasters and serious terrorist threats in our homeland. Yet, amid all these competing demands on our time, attention and resources, we have maintained the strongest force for good in the history of the world and made significant progress in transforming the structure and operations of the Department.

I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Secretary Cohen and the countless men and women -- uniform and civilian, active, Guard and Reserve -- who have been responsible for these successes. I would also like to offer my special thanks to those who worked on some of the signal issues of my tenure: the Defense Reform Initiative, the Joint Task Force for Civil Support, computer network defense, information assurance, the creation of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the reform of our export control process, missile defense, Y2K preparation, and preserving a sound defense industrial base in a global economy.

In going forward as a private citizen, I will remain a life-long advocate for the finest men and women I have ever known. I am very proud of your skill, service and sacrifice in defending this nation and our national interest. I am confident that in your hands America will remain secure and strong. God bless you all; it has been an honor to serve with you.

John J. Hamre

Deputy Secretary of Defense

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