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DoD Budget Increases Must Wait, but Pay Raise Safe

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2001 – Major changes to the Bush Administration DoD budget must wait on the completion of a force structure review, presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said Jan. 31.

The fiscal 2002 defense request will be a lean budget, Fleischer said. Still, the pay raise for service members that President Bush promised when he was campaigning for the office seems safe.

The 2002 budget submission will reflect the President's campaign promises to increase the pay for the military and to improve their housing, Fleischer said.

But, beyond that, the President thinks the wise approach to take is for the Pentagon to figure out long-term what its strategic needs are before we simply start to throw money in the direction of defense, he added.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld alluded to the review during his confirmation hearings in January. Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said the secretary fully agrees with the presidents desire to conduct the review.

The secretary certainly shares the presidents vision of a need to take a holistic look at our strategy, the capabilities to carry out that strategy as a nation and the defense departments piece in that overall strategy, Quigley said at a Feb. 1 news conference.

The review may be part of the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review, now underway, or it may be separate, Quigley said.

Rumsfeld does not have a specific plan to conduct the review, Quigley said, but expects to announce one soon. It will be a near-term issue, but were not there yet, he said.

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