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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 23, 2002

Statement by the President

Today I have signed into law H.R. 5011, the "Military Construction Appropriations Act, 2003," which provides $10.5 billion for Department of Defense military construction and family housing programs. The Act ensures the Nation's military construction priorities are met and provides the resources and infrastructure for our fighting forces at home and abroad. My Administration is committed to improving military housing and the quality of life of our uniformed defenders and their families, and this bill clearly reflects that commitment.

Sections 107, 110, and 113 of the Act provide for notice to the Congress of relocation of activities between military installations, initiation of a new installation abroad, or U.S. military exercises involving $100,000 in construction costs. The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that the President's authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security flows from the Constitution and does not depend upon a legislative grant of authority. Although the notice can be provided in most situations as a matter of comity, situations may arise, especially in wartime, in which the President must act promptly under his constitutional grants of executive power and authority as Commander in Chief while protecting sensitive national security information. The executive branch shall construe these sections in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority.

Section 119 provides for the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the Congress with details of proposed actions to encourage certain cooperating nations to assume a greater share of the common defense burden. The executive branch shall construe this provision in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information, the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties. The Secretary of Defense will, of course, continue as a matter of comity to keep the Congress appropriately informed of the matters addressed by section 119.

October 23, 2002.

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