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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 489-00
August 07, 2000

COHEN ISSUES STATEMENT ON NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today issued the following statement on National Missile Defense (NMD):

"Components of the Department of Defense are currently completing their assessment of the program to develop a National Missile Defense system. A number of difficult issues remain to be resolved before they can report to me.

"I will make no recommendation about the future of the NMD program until I have analyzed their findings. I expect that to happen and to report to the president within the next few weeks. Recent reports that I have made a decision on this matter, preliminary or otherwise, are wrong.

"There is no immediate or artificial deadline for a recommendation to the president. NMD is an important and complex program. My goal is to make the best possible recommendation based on the president's four criteria, not the earliest possible recommendation. The president fully supports this approach."