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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 040-97
January 27, 1997

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE COHEN SENDS MESSAGE TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE ARMED FORCES AND SENIOR LEADERS

Secretary Cohen sent a message to the men and women of the Armed Forces on Friday, January 24 , conveying his pride in their collective achievements and calling for a rededication on the part of all who wear the uniform to the ideals of protecting our nation.

Cohen also sent letters to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, unified combatant commanders, service secretaries and chiefs of staff acknowledging their enormous responsibilities in accomplishing the vital tasks of ensuring the security of the United States and protecting and promoting our national interests.

Secretary Cohen asked the service secretaries to convey his sincere appreciation to the many civilians who work in the departments for their tireless efforts in support of the uniformed military and the defense of our nation.

Cohen emphasized to both senior military and civilian leaders that he takes the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) process very seriously. He acknowledged that achieving a proper match of strategy, programs, and resources to meet our security needs of the present and coming years poses a major challenge. The reductions of recent years have exhausted all the easy options and, properly done, the QDR will present difficult choices, said Cohen.

Former Senator William S. Cohen was sworn in as the 20th Secretary of Defense in White House ceremonies by Vice President Al Gore on January 24.

Attachment: message and representative letters.

SUBJ: MESSAGE TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES FROM SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILLIAM S. COHEN
  1. I AM BOTH HONORED AND PRIVILEGED TO HAVE BEEN ASKED BY PRESIDENT CLINTON TO SERVE AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. I APPROACH THESE DEMANDING DUTIES WITH HUMILITY AND WITH A FULL APPRECIATION OF THE IMPORTANT WORK AHEAD AS WE CONFRONT THE UNCERTAINTIES OF FUTURE THREATS TO THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION AND OUR ALLIES.
  2. TO THOSE WHO SERVE IN UNIFORM, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU DO -- YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT YOU SERVE WITH THE SUPPORT OF A GRATEFUL NATION. THANKS TO YOU AND YOUR PREDECESSORS, THE WORLD IS A SAFER PLACE TODAY, FOR US AND FOR ALL NATIONS. YOUR TENACITY AND UNDIMINISHED COMMITMENT TO THE PURSUIT OF PEACE AND FREEDOM BROUGHT AN END TO THE COLD WAR, REVERSED AGGRESSION IN SOUTHWEST ASIA, AND TODAY DETERS THOSE FORCES THAT SEEK TO UNDERMINE THE EFFORTS OF NATIONS TO LIVE IN PEACE. AS A RESULT, OUR COMMUNITY OF NATIONS HAS A RENEWED SENSE OF HOPE AS IT APPROACHES THE NEW CENTURY.
  3. AS I ASSUME THE WATCH FROM SECRETARY PERRY, I WISH TO CONVEY TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU TWO KEY THOUGHTS. THE FIRST IS MY GREAT PRIDE IN YOUR COLLECTIVE ACHIEVEMENTS, WHICH HAVE ENABLED THE UNITED STATES TO FULFILL ITS INDISPENSABLE ROLE AS THE WORLDS GREATEST FORCE FOR PEACE, PROSPERITY, AND FREEDOM. MY RESPECT FOR YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS IS EQUALED ONLY BY THE HONOR OF BEING SELECTED TO LEAD YOU AND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AS WE WORK TO ENSURE THE SECURITY OF THE UNITED STATES AND TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE OUR NATIONAL INTERESTS ABROAD.
  4. SECOND, I REQUEST AN INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE REDEDICATION ON THE PART OF ALL WHO WEAR THE UNIFORM TO THE IDEALS OF PROTECTING OUR NATION. ADLAI STEVENSON ONCE SAID, "PATRIOTISM IS NOT A SHORT AND FRENZIED OUTBURST OF EMOTION BUT THE TRANQUIL AND STEADY DEDICATION OF A LIFETIME." THROUGH YOUR STEADY DEDICATION TO THE COMMON DEFENSE, YOU REPRESENT THE BEST OUR NATION HAS TO OFFER -- BOTH TO OUR OWN COUNTRY AND TO THE WORLD. YOUR GREATNESS IS MEASURED IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS, EVERY DAY. BE IT BY YOUR COMPASSION IN HUMANITARIAN MISSIONS, YOUR STEADFAST RESOLVE WHILE DETERRING POTENTIAL ENEMIES, OR YOUR COURAGE AND PROFESSIONALISM WHEN THE NATION DECIDES TO COMMIT ITS MIGHT IN THE PURSUIT OF OUR NATIONAL OBJECTIVES, YOU LIGHT THE PATH FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW. YOUR COUNTRYMEN LOOK TO YOUR "DEDICATION OF A LIFETIME" AS A CONSTANT IN THEIR LIVES. THE WORLD DEPENDS ON IT AS A CONDITION FOR PEACE AND STABILITY.
  5. LET ME CLOSE BY SAYING THAT I PLEDGE ALL OF MY ENERGIES TOWARDS ACHIEVING THE HIGH STANDARDS THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE RAVE COME TO EXPECT OF THEIR ARMED FORCES. I FURTHER PLEDGE THAT WE SHALL MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND THOSE OF YOUR FAMILIES AS YOU DISCHARGE YOUR UNIQUE AND DEMANDING DUTIES ON LAND, AT SEA, OR IN THE AIR AROUND THE GLOBE. A PROUD AND GRATEFUL NATION, WHOSE DESTINY IS IN YOUR HANDS, CAN DO NO LESS. PRESS ON.
WILLIAM S. COHEN,
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE.
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WASHINGTON

January 25, 1997

General John M. Shalikashvili, USA Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear General Shalikashvili:

As I assume the duties of Secretary of Defense, I look forward to working with you in the vital tasks of ensuring the security of the United States and protecting and promoting its national interests around the globe. I am honored by the opportunity to lead the Department of Defense during this period of change and uncertainty.

Our mutual challenge will be to selectively use the vast and unique capabilities of the Armed Forces to advance the national interests in peace while maintaining the readiness to fight when necessary. In diverse places such as Kuwait, Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia, you have successfully met this challenge. I commend you for your efforts in ensuring that our national military strategy continues to support and enhance the national strategy prescribed by the President.

The most important relationship within the Department is the civil-military partnership between the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. You and Secretary Perry established a genuine partnership and a spirit of cooperation that markedly improved the performance of the Pentagon. I am dedicated to continuing such a productive relationship and relying upon you for advice and counsel as my principal military advisor. I also intend to develop a good relationship with each combatant commander and in a letter to each have indicated that I would welcome open communication of his candid thoughts and concerns. In general, I would intend to communicate with them through you, of course, and to keep you apprised in any other cases.

As with our own relationship, effective cooperation and collaboration between our two staffs is vital. Such cooperation has advanced considerably in recent years, largely as a result of your initiative and effort. Working together, I believe we can and should accelerate the pace of the integration you have established.

The international security environment is becoming increasingly complex and is evolving at an even more rapid pace. You and I will need to give attention to mechanisms and approaches that will improve the Department's ability to anticipate and adapt to change. In this context, I believe the Joint Strategic Review and Joint Vision 2010 are insightful and significant.

Achieving a proper match of strategy, programs, and resources to meet our security needs of the present and coming years poses a major challenge. As you know, I take the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) seriously and expect all elements of the Department to take it equally seriously. We should be under no illusions. The reductions of recent years have exhausted all the easy options and, properly done, the QDR will present difficult choices. I am counting on your support to ensure the best outcome of this process and to implement the decisions I will make based on the recommendations of the QDR.

As you reflect upon your time as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, you can justifiably view your many accomplishments with well deserved pride. Under your stewardship, the country has grown accustomed to the military's sustained and exceptionally high level of performance. Although the future is uncertain, we instinctively know that unique challenges await us. I am anxious to work with you on the issues that affect our Armed Forces. I look forward to our close working relationship as we move forward to accomplish the task at hand.

Sincerely,


THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WASHINGTON

January 24, 1997

General George Joulwan, USA Commander-in-Chief
United States European Command Stuttgart, Vaihingen, Germany

Dear General Joulwan:

As I assume the duties of Secretary of Defense, I look forward to working with you on the vital tasks of ensuring the security of the United States and protecting and promoting the Nation's interests in the European Command's Area of Responsibility.

I appreciate the burden of responsibility and accountability that accompanies the mantle of leadership you and your subordinates have worn and that I now also take on. In carrying out those responsibilities, and recognizing our special relationship in the chain of command, I welcome open communication of your candid thoughts and concerns as we address the difficult issues facing us.

The international security environment is becoming increasingly complex and is evolving at an ever more rapid pace. while overall trends and some threats can be foreseen, new threats may arise and other unexpected demands placed upon our Armed Forces. Achieving a proper match of strategy, programs and resources to meet the security needs of the present and the coming years poses a major challenge.

As you know, these matters are being addressed in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). I take this process seriously and expect all elements of the Department to take it equally seriously. We should be under no illusions. The reductions of recent years have exhausted all the easy options and, properly done, the QDR will present difficult choices. I am counting on you and your colleagues to lend your support in ensuring the best outcome of this process and in implementing the decisions I will make based on the recommendations of the QDR.

Your record of achievement during this historic period is most impressive. You have prepared the way for upcoming decisions on NATO enlargement. Your personal diplomacy supporting engagement of Partnership for Peace states has helped produce unprecedented stability and trust among former adversaries. The NATO-led mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina has brought a fragile stability to a troubled region.

I look forward to seeing you in Washington on 29 January and to working together on issues involving the United States European Command.

Sincerely,


THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WASHINGTON

January 25, 1997

The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. Secretary of the Army
The Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Secretary West:

As I assume the duties and responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense, I look forward to working with you on the vital tasks of ensuring the security of the United States and protecting and promoting our national interests. I am honored by the opportunity to lead the Department into the next century.

The secretaries of the military departments have enormous responsibilities. Their departments are the largest, most diverse components of the Department of Defense. They are also the building blocks for all defense activities. The relationships established between the Secretary of Defense and the Service Secretaries are critical in setting the overall direction for the defense establishment and effectively integrating service capabilities for the conduct of major military operations. I feel confident that together we can forge the close partnership necessary to yield the results our Nation expects and deserves.

I believe that through leadership and personal involvement, we will be able to effectively manage the Department and to properly organize, train, and equip our forces for the full range of future tasks that they will be called upon to perform. However, the coming years will certainly pose challenges. We confront a rapidly changing, complex, and unpredictable global security environment. We will also face increasing resource constraints. The nation will soon demand government spending to be limited by a balanced budget. This public mandate will not exempt the Department of Defense. We must be able to objectively scrutinize everything we do and prove to Congress and the public that we are expending the taxpayers' resources wisely.

In this regard, I do not expect that technical advances derived from the ongoing Revolution in Military Affairs will meet all our needs for greater economy. I am convinced that we need a supporting Revolution in Business Affairs to improve our efficiency. To foster the innovation and experimentation required for this latter revolution, we will need courage and institutional flexibility.

Please convey to the many civilians who work in the Department of the Army my sincere appreciation and gratitude for their tireless efforts in support of the uniformed military and the defense of our Nation. I will rely upon their skill and experience in managing the Department. I look to them to help us make the proper choices for the future and to help us implement the Revolution in Business Affairs.

Achieving a proper match of strategy, programs, and resources to meet our security needs of the present and coming years poses a major challenge. As you know, I take the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) seriously and expect all elements of the Department to take it equally seriously. we should he under no illusions. The reductions of recent years have exhausted all the easy options and, properly done, the QDR will present difficult choices. I am counting on your support to ensure the best outcome of this process and to implement the decisions I will make based on the recommendations of the QDR.

Once I complete my transition into office, I hope to work with the Army to understand more fully the issues that affect your Department and, to the extent appropriate, to help resolve pressing problems.

Sincerely,


THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WASHINGTON


January 25, 1997

General Dennis J. Reimer Chief of Staff of the Army
The Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear General Reimer:

As I assume the duties of the office of the Secretary of Defense, I look forward to working with you in the vital task of providing for the common defense of the United States. I am both honored and excited by the prospect of leading the Department into the next century. I feel confident that together we can forge the close partnership necessary to generate the results our Nation expects and deserves.

I want to thank you for the excellent briefing you provided me on the challenges facing the nation's "Force of Decision." Your brief gave me a far better appreciation for the difficult task you and your predecessors faced in redeploying and restructuring Americas Army since the end of the Cold War. I am especially impressed that the Department of the Army has been able to manage this transition effectively in the face of declining budgets and increased commitments. The Army's performance in Haiti and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as your success in retaining a quality force, demonstrate to me that you have successfully balanced operational needs with the needs of your Soldiers and their families. This is among the most difficult leadership tasks facing a Service Chief, and I commend you for your results.

The way ahead will present us with the same challenge you have coped with in the past: leading and managing our military forces in the face of constrained defense resources and a rapidly changing global security environment. Successfully responding to this challenge will require organizational agility and adaptiveness; and even greater levels of efficiency. We must objectively scrutinize everything we do and prove to Congress and the public that we are expending the taxpayers' resources wisely.

Achieving a proper match of strategy, programs, and resources to meet our security needs of the present and coming years poses a major challenge. As you know, I take the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) seriously and expect all elements of the Department to take it equally seriously. We should be under no illusions. The reductions of recent years have exhausted all the easy options and, properly done, the QDR will present difficult choices. I am counting on your support to ensure the best outcome of this process and to implement the decisions I will make based on the recommendations of the QDR.

Finally, your advice, counsel, and judgment are of great importance to me. Feel free to communicate with me whenever issues arise, as they invariably will, that affect your ability to "organize, train, and equip" the United States Army. I am counting on you and your fellow Chiefs to provide me with the benefit of your experience and insights, so that together we will continue to advance and defend our nation's security interests.

Sincerely,