Defense Appropriations Bill
January 10, 2002
1:25 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. At ease. (Laughter.) I always love being
introduced by a matinee television idol. (Laughter and applause.) Who would
have thought it? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Not my wife.
THE PRESIDENT: Only his mother. (Laughter.) Thanks so much, Mr. Secretary. He's
doing a fabulous job, he really is. And so are the men and women who work in
this building, and the men and women who wear the uniform. We're really proud
I'm honored to sign this bill because the nation owes the men and women of the
military our full measure of respect, and our full measure of support. We owe
you decent pay and a decent quality of life. We owe you the best leadership
and training. We owe you the best equipment and weaponry. We owe you, our servicemen
and women, our best, because we owe you our freedom.
This bill, which includes both this year's defense appropriations, and emergency
supplemental spending, keeps the commitment to our military, and keeps the commitments
of our country. It was passed with bipartisan support in the Congress. It will
be implemented by this fine Secretary, and a fine Deputy Secretary in Paul Wolfowitz.
As Commander-in-Chief, I'm really proud to sign this bill here in the Pentagon.
It shows that at an hour when freedom was under attack, America is steady, and
standing tall, in freedom's defense. I, too, want to thank the members of the
United States Congress who are here, particularly Chairman Bill Young. Thank
you, Mr. Chairman, for coming. (Applause.) Senator Dorgan, I appreciate you
being here, sir. Rodney, thank you for coming, and Jim and George. I guess you're
supposed to be formal with the Senate, and informal with the House. But thank
you all for taking time to be here. It's a kind gesture for you to come.
I also want to thank the members of the Joint Chiefs and the leadership of our
military who are on the stage with me here. Dick Myers is doing a fabulous job.
He is steady, he is strong. He sets such an important signal throughout our
military that we mean business. We're a no-nonsense group of people who have
got one thing in mind, and that is victory. (Applause.)
I remember talking about our plans with the Secretary and others in my administration.
And as we set our plans, there was no question that our military was ready.
The Secretary made that clear, Dick Myers, made that clear, Hugh Shelton made
that clear. And since September the 11th, the skill, the daring and the courage
of our men and women in uniform is now clear to all. It's clear to your fellow
Americans, and it's clear to those who try to hide in caves.
We have liberated a nation from oppression. And we've saved many people from
starvation. I'd like to remind my fellow Americans there is nothing more joyous
to my heart than to see our military liberate women who have lived under the
most oppressive regime in the history of mankind. This cause is noble, and this
cause is just. And we will stay on this cause until we have achieved our objective.
You're delivering justice; not revenge, but justice, to agents of terror. And
you're making this nation proud.
America recently has been reminded that in our quest to defend freedom -- and
really in our quest to save civilization -- there are enormous sacrifices, and
to no more greater sacrifice than loss of life. And like the Secretary, I extend
my prayers and sympathies to the moms and dads and the wives and sons and daughters
of those who have lost their life.
But as I told the young lady the other day when I called her, whose husband
had died, I said, please tell your children that he died for a just cause. Sacrifices
are made willingly by volunteers. And having traveled our nation a little bit,
I can assure you, you're in the midst of a grateful people.
In our global campaign against global terror, our military must have every resource,
every tool, every weapon, and every advantage you need for the missions to come.
The bill I'm about to sign makes a down-payment on essential commitment. We
will give our forces everything they need to defeat global terror. Overall,
this year's defense bill provides nearly $30 billion more than the amount enacted
for the Fiscal Year 2001. The emergency supplemental measure provides another
$3.5 billion on top of that.
Yet, even more important than these numbers are the priorities they represent.
First of all, the bill contains funding for pay increases of up to 15 percent
for service members, with an average increase of 6.9 percent. The bill reduces
out-of-pocket housing costs from 15 percent to 11 percent, and puts us on a
track towards eliminating this burden altogether by the year 2005. In addition,
the bill also fully funds the health care of active duty members and their families,
and provides $3.9 billion for health care benefits for military retirees over
65, and their families.
We can never pay our men and women in uniform on a scale that matches the magnitude
of their sacrifice. But this bill reflects our respect for your selfless service.
Today, more than ever, we also owe those in uniform the resources they need
to maintain a very high state of readiness. Our enemies rely upon surprise and
deception. They used to reply upon the fact that they thought we were soft.
I don't think they think that way anymore. (Applause.)
Our forces must be ready to deploy to any point on the globe on short notice.
This bill increases operation and maintenance by over $8 billion. This nation
must have, and will have, ready forces that can bring victory to our country,
and safety to our people. The world's best soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines
also deserve the world's best weaponry. To ensure that, our nation must invest
in procurement accounts. This defense bill contains about $61 billion for procurement.
This nation must give our military the weapons it needs to meet the threats
of our future. If the war against terror means that we must find terror wherever
it exists, and pull it out by its roots, and bring people to justice, our military
must have the means to achieve the objective.
This bill is just the beginning to make sure that that happens. Our nation must
also look even farther into the future, so that the next generations of weaponry
take advantage of our nation's decisive technological edge. That's why I'm pleased
to see that this year's defense bill contains almost $50 billion for research
and development, including nearly $8 billion for missile defense.
My administration is committed to transforming our forces, with innovative doctrine
and strategy and weaponry. This will allow us to revolutionize the battlefield
of the future, and to keep the peace by defining war on our terms. This is a
great goal and it's a great opportunity, one granted to few nations in history.
And with the leadership of the Secretary, we will seize this opportunity.
And finally, I'm pleased that the emergency supplemental funding in this bill
is going to allow us to meet some of our urgent priorities. In addition to the
$3.5 billion to help prosecute the war on terror, the bill contains $8.2 billion
to help New York, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania
recover from the attacks by the evil ones. It also devotes an additional $8.4
billion to homeland security.
We're working hard to make sure that our homeland is secure. But the best way
to secure America's future is to bring the terrorists to justice, and to say
to those who think they can hide them, you, too, are just as guilty as the murderers
if you think you can hide them, and provide them aid, and provide them comfort.
We will build the security of America by fighting our enemies abroad, and protecting
our folks here at home. And we are committed, this administration, and the Congress,
is committed to these most important goals.
These are good bills that will help America in time of need. And I appreciate
the spirit on Capitol Hill that led to its passage. I look forward to working
with the Congress, as we build our nation's strength and security. I look forward
to working for next year's budget, with the priorities of winning this war,
and defending our homeland. I'm confident that the spirit that prevailed in
late fall will spill over into this year, as we continue to remember the great
goals that face this nation.
It is now my honor, in the heart -- the headquarters of the greatest military
in the world, to sign the Department of Defense and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations
Act. Thank you all for your hospitality. Stay on course. Find the enemy. (Applause.)
God bless. (Applause.)