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Military News Briefs for the Week of Dec. 29, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2000 – (This is a summary of the American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Dec. 29, 2000.)


Rumsfeld Tapped to Lead Pentagon

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2000 -- President-elect George W. Bush nominated Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate this will be Rumsfeld's second tour at the Pentagon. He was secretary in the Ford Administration from 1975 to 1977.

Rumsfeld, 68, would succeed William S. Cohen. "He's going to be a great secretary of defense -- again," said Bush during the announcement Dec. 28.

During the announcement, Bush said he wants to restructure the department to make forces more mobile. During the campaign, Bush said he would look into skipping generations of military hardware to ensure U.S. forces have the best weaponry. Bush also reiterated that he would add $1 billion to the budget for a higher military pay raise.

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Full-Scale Anthrax Vaccine Program May Restart in October

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2000 -- DoD officials expect the full-scale anthrax immunization program to restart in October 2001. Officials are confident that Bioport, the sole producer of the vaccine, will overcome problems and receive approval for their new facility.

"The producer of the vaccine has made some substantial progress in recent weeks," said Marine Maj. Gen. Randall West, senior adviser to the Secretary of Defense for Biological and Chemical Protection.

West said DoD has been speaking with the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and others monitoring Bioport. "They and we have confidence that [Bioport is] going to achieve approval for new production and that will probably occur not later than the third quarter of the coming year," he said during an interview.

This means full-scale vaccination would probably begin by October.

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Troops Link Retention to Pay, Education, Family Time

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2000 -- Pay is still important to service members, but troops also consider educational opportunities and a desire for more family time in their deliberations whether to stay in the military.

Navy Vice Adm. Patricia Tracey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, noted military pay remains an important retention factor, especially in today's all-volunteer force, which includes growing numbers of service members with families.

"People don't come here to make money ... there is something else that motivates people to serve," Tracey said during a Dec. 7 Pentagon interview. "But, it is [also] a married force." Military parents, like any others, want their children to have better opportunities than they had, she added. Officials note that surveys show that service members with 10 years of service usually stay for a career. These older service members are often married with children.

"Because we don't control how much we pay -- we have to convince Congress and others that we need pay raises -- it is easy to get behind on a pay table and not keep pace with what is happening in the private sector," she said.

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