Monday, December 2, 2002
(Secretary Rumsfeld's opening remarks at President George W. Bush's signing of the National Defense Authorization Bill located on the White House web site)
Secretary Rumsfeld: The president says thank you.
President Bush: (Chuckling.) Very good.
Rumsfeld: Mr. President, welcome back to the Pentagon. We are pleased you're here, and we're delighted to see so many friends from the House and Senate who have worked hard to help fashion this legislation: Senator John Warner, up on here on the stage here, and Congressman Duncan Hunter. And I think somewhere down here I see some folks -- Senator Dayton and Senator Bunning. Well, I can't see. Senator Bunning's somewhere. There you are. Good to see you, sir. And Senator Sessions should be here. Jeff, nice to see you. Congressman McHugh and Congressman Everett and Delegate Underwood, we welcome you all as well. It's good to see you.
I regret that Chairman Levin and Chairman Stump are out of town and not able to join us today. The bill will be signed today, appropriately honors Congressman and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Bob Stump.
Mr. President, in your September 1999 remarks at the Citadel, you vowed that on taking office you would give your team at the Department of Defense a broad mandate to challenge the status quo and envision a new architecture for Americans' defense. The goal, you said, would be to move beyond marginal improvements. This, you said, will require spending more -- and it has -- and spending more wisely, which is our assignment and our task.
For the past 22 months, we have pursued the goals you set out. We fashioned a new defense strategy with a new way of sizing our forces and balancing risks. We have established the new Northern Command to better defend the homeland; a Joint Forces Command that focuses on transformation; and a new strategic command responsible for early warning and defense against missile attack and long-range conventional attacks. We reorganized and revitalized the missile defense program, freed from the constraints of the ABM Treaty. And we completed the Nuclear Posture Review, that will permit historic and deep reductions in offensive nuclear weapons.
This legislation is a key step in putting your strategic vision into action. It focuses on programs that will be needed in our new 21st century security environment. It accelerates funding for unmanned aerial vehicles. It makes critical investments to improve U.S. intelligence capabilities. It funds the conversion of Cold-War- developed Trident nuclear submarines into platforms that can deliver Special Forces and Tomahawk missiles into denied areas. And it provides the quality of life improvements for the men and women in uniform that you have worked for.
This legislation addresses three priority missions at once: To win the global war on terrorism; to restore capabilities by making investments in procurement, people and modernization; and to prepare for the future by funding transforming initiatives for the 21st century. The bill you sign today will have an immediate impact on our national security, and at the same time, will help to assure the security of future generations of Americans.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce the leader in the global war on terrorism, our commander in chief, President George W. Bush.
Mr. President. (Applause.)
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