Defense Appropriations Bills
The White House
October 23, 2002
10:40 A.M. EDT
Good morning. Please be seated.
The security of the American people is the first commitment of the American
government. Our nation faces grave new dangers, and our nation must fully support
the men and women of our military who confront these dangers on our behalf.
The Department of Defense and the Military Construction Appropriations bills
I sign today will make our country more secure, make our military forces more
prepared, and reward military families for their sacrifice in service.
These bills, passed with bipartisan support, send a message: America is united;
America is strong; and America will remain strong.
I appreciate so very much Vice President Cheney joining me today. He is a great
Vice President. I appreciate Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld joining me
today. He's a great Secretary of Defense. I appreciate Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz
coming. I want to thank Tom White, the Secretary of the Army. I want to thank
the members of the Congress who have joined us today, both Democrat and Republican
-- Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota; Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania; Bill
Young of Florida; Dave Hobson of Ohio; and, Jim Moran of Virginia.
I want to thank the service chiefs who are here. They've done such a good job
for our country. I want to thank their senior enlisted advisors. I want to thank
the friends of the United States military who are here in the Rose Garden today.
I want to thank those who wear the uniform who are here. And I welcome my fellow
Since September the 11th, Americans have been reminded that the safety of many
depends on the courage and skill of a few. We've asked our military to bring
justice to agents of terror. We've asked our military to liberate a captive
people on the other side of the Earth. We've asked our military to prepare for
conflict in Iraq, if it proves necessary. We're asking young Americans to serve
in many places far from home and at great risk. We owe them every resource,
every weapon, and every tool they need to fulfill their missions.
The best military in the world must have every advantage required to defend
the peace of the world. And the best military in the world is making good progress
on this, the first war of the 21st century.
It's a different kind of war. Our military knows it. After all, we're on an
international manhunt. We're chasing cold-blooded killers down, one killer at
a time. And we're making good progress. We've hauled in or arrested -- thanks
to our military and our friends and allies -- over a couple of thousand killers,
and like number weren't as lucky. In either case, they're no longer a threat
to the American people.
Sometimes the American people will see the progress we're making, and sometimes
they won't. They just need to know that the United States military is after
them -- one person at a time.
The bill I sign today also sends a clear signal to friend and foe alike, that
it doesn't matter how long it takes to defend our freedom; the United States
of America will stay the course. There is no timetable in the Oval Office here
behind me that says at a certain period of time, we no longer care deeply about
our freedoms and, therefore, we're going to quit. There's no such timetable.
The bill today says America is determined and resolute to not only defend our
freedom, but defend freedom around the world; that we're determined and resolute
to answer the call to history, and that we will defeat terror. (Applause.)
This year's defense bill provides nearly $355 billion to protect our country,
more than $37 billion increase from fiscal year 2002 -- for fiscal year 2002.
We're matching increased funding with clear priorities.
First, this legislation takes care of our men and women in uniform and their
families. We provide the money for a pay increase of 4.1 percent for service
members; provide for additional full-time support personnel for the National
Guard and Reserves; continue to reduce the out-of-pocket cost for housing for
our service members and their families.
The Military Construction Appropriations bill adds $10.5 billion for building
and upgrading military installations and for military family housing. We're
taking care of our people. We want the people who wear the uniform to know America
appreciates their service.
Secondly, this year's defense bill will ensure that our military is ready and
well-equipped. We increased funds for operations and maintenance by more than
$5 billion, provide nearly $72 billion for weapon procurement, an $11-billion
increase. Today's American forces are ready and able to deploy to any point
in the globe to defeat any foe, and we're going to keep it that way.
Third, this legislation begins developing the next generations of weaponry that
will win battles in the future. We invest almost $58 billion in research and
development. At the same time, the bill ends some weapons systems that aren't
going to meet the needs of the future, and that's an important contribution
to our military. To have the willingness to say this program works and this
one doesn't is important. So we ended the Crusader artillery program, a program
that was designed for a different era.
Instead, we will fund new systems, systems that will enable our military to
do a more effective job at defending America and our freedoms, systems such
as the unmanned aerial vehicles like the Predator and the Global Hawk that we've
used so effectively in Afghanistan.
We fund efforts to adopt Cold War systems like the Trident submarine to meet
the new 21st century missions. We fund over $7 billion to protect America and
our friends from the threat of ballistic missiles.
I'm grateful that Congress completed its important work on defense and military
construction appropriations bills. I want to thank them for working hard on
these two important pieces of legislation. I appreciate the bipartisan spirit.
There's still important work to complete. For example, Congress has yet to act
on my proposal to nearly double overall funding for homeland defense, including
my request for unprecedented funding levels for police and firefighters and
emergency medical personnel who are on the front lines of defending our citizens.
In addition, our new homeland -- department of homeland security is stalled
in the Senate. The defense bill I will sign today funds our soldiers, sailors,
airmen, and Marines, all of which exist in a single department. That department
was created by President Harry Truman when he reorganized our nation's defense
structure to meet the security threats of a new era.
Today we are, once again, in a new era. Yet our homeland security activities
are spread among more than a hundred different government agencies. America
needs a single department of government dedicated to protecting our people,
and to protecting our homeland. We can't wait any longer. The threats to America
are simply too great. Providing for the security of our country is a broader
task than just keeping our military strong. I look forward to working with Congress
on all the measures needed to build the strength and security of the greatest
nation on the face of the Earth.
Is it now my honor to sign the Department of Defense Appropriations Act and
the Military Construction Appropriations Act. (Applause.)