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Rumsfeld: Budget Changes Possible, But Review Comes First

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2001 – President Bush may still amend the fiscal 2002 defense budget, but he wants to "engage the brains before the taxpayers' pocketbooks," the Pentagon's top man said March 1.

"(President Bush) has put forward a budget and indicated that he will address the question of a supplemental and/or a budget amendment for '02 at the point where he has had a good chance to see the results of the defense review that ... we're undertaking at the present time," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a Pentagon press briefing.

"There have been any number of people who have opined on various aspects of the defense budget," Rumsfeld said, "... and at the right moment, the president will have his."

The president submitted a budget with few increases in defense spending until several parts of an overall strategic review are completed and analyzed, Rumsfeld said. He disagreed with critics who've said Bush is breaking a campaign promise to strengthen the military.

"It is the president's budget. ... He preferred to follow through on things he mentioned during the campaign that he believed needed to be looked at," Rumsfeld said. "It seems to me a perfectly responsible thing to do."

The secretary mentioned several ongoing aspects being reviewed, including acquisition reform, quality of life issues, defense strategy and DoD's intelligence structure.

"Acquisition reform ... is something that's been studied and studied and studied," he said. "Part of the problem is simply mining that very fine work that's been done."

Retired Adm. David Jeremiah, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will lead the study into military quality of life issues. This will include "the very difficult questions on health and education and morale that exist in the services," Rumsfeld said.

"Some (sections of the review) will be completed prior to others," the secretary said. "The military is being engaged; the uniformed side is being engaged; the civilian side is being engaged and has been asked for suggestions and thoughts."

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Related Sites:
DoD News Briefing, March 1, 2001

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