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Bush Proposes Budget to Strengthen, Transform Military

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2001 – President Bush has recommended a defense budget of $310.5 billion for fiscal 2002.

Bush spoke before a Joint Session of Congress Feb. 27. Overall, the fiscal 2002 budget request is a "reasonable" 4 percent over the fiscal 2001 budget. The fiscal 2001 DoD budget is $296.3 billion.

The budget request concentrates on personnel. It includes an extra $1.4 billion for a boost to military pay and another $400 million to build or refurbish military housing.

"The budget I propose to you also supports the people who keep our country strong and free, the men and women who serve in the United States military," he said. "I am requesting $5.7 billion in increased military pay and benefits and health care and housing. Our men and women in uniform give America their best, and we owe them our support."

Bush said the U.S. military will change. In documents released by the Office of Management and Budget, Bush called for changes in the Cold War strategy that continues to dominate the American military. The threat of a massive nuclear attack from the Soviet Union has been replaced by threats from rogue states bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

"We'll promote the peace," Bush said. "And we need a strong military to keep the peace."

The military must change if it is to remain relevant and able to defend the country and American interests. "Our defense vision will drive our budget, not the other way around," Bush said.

He said the budget request makes a "down payment" on the research and development necessary to transform the military. In the OMB document, Bush calls for an increase in military research and development of $20 billion between fiscal 2002 and 2006. In fiscal 2002 that increase would be $2.6 billion.

Bush also wants to allocate 20 percent of research and development funds to especially promising programs that will give U.S. forces weapons systems that are "generations ahead" of any rival.

What programs these may be and what other changes will come to the defense budget must wait until Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld finishes his top-down review of the department. However that review goes, however, it is clear that the military needs new rounds of base closures, the OMB document says.

Bush told Congress the United States must "develop and deploy effective missile defense." He has called development of such a system "the most pressing national security challenge." The budget request calls for a missile defense system to "protect our deployed forces abroad, all 50 states and our friends and allies overseas."

The proposed budget is now the subject of debate in Congress. Its details will change as representatives and senators hold hearings on the various aspects of the request.

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Related Sites:
President's Address to the Joint Session of Congress, Feb. 27, 2001

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