The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

Strengthening Our Military, Supporting Our Veterans

“America today has the finest [military] the world has ever seen. And with your help, I am committing to ensuring that we have the world’s finest [military] tomorrow and every day after. To do so, we must build forces that draw upon the revolutionary advances in the technology of war that will allow us to keep the peace by redefining war on our terms. I’m committed to building a future force that is defined less by size and more by mobility and swiftness, one that is easier to deploy and sustain, one that relies more heavily on stealth, precision weaponry and information technologies.”

– President George W. Bush, May 25, 2001

The Accomplishments

Strengthening our Military

  • President Bush has increased defense spending by more than one-third – the largest increase in a generation.
  • The President has increased military research and development by more than 50 percent.
  • President Bush signed into law landmark legislation that better prepares our defense establishment to meet the challenges of the 21st century. A military that was designed for the challenges of the mid-to-late 20th century is being transformed into a lighter, more flexible, more agile, and more lethal force – one better able to deal with new threats to our national security.
  • President Bush announced the most comprehensive restructuring of US military forces overseas since the end of the Korean War. By closing bases no longer needed to meet Cold War threats that have ended, this new initiative will bring home many Cold War-era forces while deploying more flexible and rapidly deployable capabilities in strategic locations around the world.
Deploying a Missile Defense
  • The President has doubled investment in a missile defense system.
  • The United States will soon deploy a functioning missile defense system to protect Americans from nuclear threats posed by rogue regimes – and will deploy the first land and sea-based system.
  • The United States is acting with the support and cooperation of Australia, Britain, Japan, and other nations to establish a missile defense capability with support sites on multiple continents.
  • The Department of Defense has conducted several successful tests of a national missile defense system in which an incoming missile was intercepted and destroyed.
Strengthening the NATO Alliance
  • President Bush has been a leader in transforming NATO to make it effective in the 21st century and the global war on terror.
  • In 2004, NATO welcomed seven new members from Central and Eastern Europe into the Alliance.
  • NATO leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin created the NATO-Russia Council to facilitate consultation and joint action.
  • The Alliance commands the International Security Assistance Force (consisting of more than 6,000 troops) that is helping secure and rebuild a free Afghanistan. Afghanistan is NATO’s first mission outside of Europe.
  • NATO allies are contributing troops to the coalition in Iraq and NATO leaders have agreed to help train Iraq’s new security forces.
  • NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, which will increase cooperative security efforts with the broader Middle East in areas including counterterrorism and halting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • The United States proposed with Norway a measure to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy on human trafficking in areas of NATO operations. NATO will develop specific measures to support local efforts to combat trafficking. Two hundred thousand victims of trafficking are transported through the Balkans each year, a region where NATO has a significant presence.
Supporting Military Families and Veterans
  • Since President Bush took office, basic pay for service members has increased by more than 20 percent – and the increase in payments for food and housing combined has reached 50 percent.
  • Funding for child care services has increased by $21.5 million.
  • The Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 provides tax relief and other benefits to members of the armed services and their families.
  • President Bush has proposed unprecedented levels of funding for veterans. His 2005 budget represents an increase in overall funding for our nation’s veterans by almost $20 billion – or 40 percent – since 2001. The President has increased funding for our veterans more in four years than funding was increased in the previous eight years.
  • Since 2001, President Bush’s four budgets for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have provided a more than 40 percent increase in veterans’ medical care spending alone.
  • Changes have been implemented to ensure that veterans receive timely, quality medical care. Waiting lists for medical care have been essentially eliminated and the processing time for disability claims has been reduced by 30 percent.
  • The President’s budgets have allowed 2.5 million more veterans to enroll for health care; outpatient visits to increase from 44 million to 54 million; the number of prescriptions filled to increase from 98 million to 116 million; and 194 new community-based clinics to open.
  • President Bush has twice signed legislation effectively providing “concurrent receipt” of both military retired pay and disability compensation for those military retirees most deserving, combat injured and highly disabled, reversing a century-old law.
  • The President has committed $1.5 billion in his 2004 and 2005 budgets to increase outpatient health care services for veterans, to build new hospitals, and to modernize or replace outdated pre-World War II facilities. Through the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) plan, the VA is working to better distribute its network of clinics and hospitals so that the vast majority of veterans are within 30 miles of a VA community-based outpatient clinic or similar facility.

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