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 Home > News & Policies > January 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 26, 2001

Remarks by the President and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Swearing-In Ceremony
The Oval Office

1:23 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: It's a great honor to welcome Secretary Rumsfeld and his wife and family here to the Oval Office. Thank you all for coming.

In swearing-in Don Rumsfeld, we have just sworn in a leader of exceptional strength and ability and vision. And I'm grateful that he has returned to service to our country.

Don and I have set three clear goals to guide American defense policy. First, we will strengthen the bond of trust between the American people and those who wear our nation's uniform. We'll give them the tools they need and the respect they deserve.

Second, we will work to defend our people and our allies against growing threats: the threats of missiles; information warfare; the threats of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. We will confront the new threats of a new century.

Third, we will begin creating the military of the future, one that takes full advantage of revolutionary new technologies. We will promote the peace by redefining the way wars will be fought. These are great and exciting objectives, and our new Secretary of Defense is uniquely qualified to accomplish them.

As a former Navy pilot, Don Rumsfeld understands that if we ever send our forces into harm's way we must send them fully prepared and equipped for the dangers they face. As a highly successful businessman, he understands that we must modernize and transform the business of defense, getting the value for our taxpayers' money. He is willing to challenge the status quo inside the Pentagon.

As the head of the National Commission on Ballistic Missile Threats, he is the among the country's most informed experts on this vital issue. As a former congressman, he understands the need to work closely with the Congress. As a former White House Chief of Staff, as a former Secretary of Defense, he understands what it takes to be a leader.

This is an exceptional history of service, and Don Rumsfeld is an exceptional man with integrity and honesty as a cornerstone of his foundation.

Mr. Secretary, congratulations.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you very much. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, I thank you so much for the confidence you have placed in me, for the honor you do me, and for giving me the opportunity, as you said one day, to serve as Secretary of Defense again. (Laughter.)

I have thought a good deal about the remarks you have made during the course of the campaign and since your election; and as you know, I share your hopes and your expectations for the Department of Defense and for the Armed Forces of the United States of America. I am an enthusiastic supporter of those goals.

I listened to your Inaugural Address with a great deal of interest and pleasure, and congratulate you on it. It is something I think all of us would do well to reread from time to time. It carries an important message about you and about our country and about your administration.

I know that Dick remembers this, when we served in the White House there was a man around quite a bit named Bryce Harlow, and he always said that it's important for people who work in this house to leave it better than they found it. I am proud to be working for someone who will do that, and I know you will.

Thank you very much.

END 1:27 P.M. EST