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6. Revitalize National Defense

Ensuring the common defense is the sworn duty and first responsibility of any President. The President believes a strong military is essential to defend American interests and extend the more secure peace that resulted from the end of the Cold War.

As old threats recede, however, new threats emerge. While the Cold War may be over, a Cold War focus continues to define our Armed Forces in terms of doctrine, structure and strategy. The threat of a massive nuclear attack launched by the Soviet Union has been replaced by a world in which threats come from rogue states bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction and terrorism—threats as unconventional as they are unpredictable. America's armed forces are more than capable of defending our national security in such a world, provided we adapt our defense strategy and structure accordingly.

The President took office with three goals in mind: To renew the bonds of trust between the Commander in Chief and the American military; to protect the American people from missile attack and threats of terror; and, central to these goals, begin building a military capable of combating the threats of a new century.

Restoring Military Morale

The President believes that the men and women who choose to serve this country deserve not only our respect, but also our support in terms of pay, housing, and other quality-of-life issues. We cannot honor our servicemen and women and yet allow sub-standard housing and inadequate compensation levels to endure.

Restoring morale also means restoring a clear sense of mission. To this end, the President has pointed to the pattern of extended deployments that have characterized the post-Cold War period and has made clear that future deployments must reflect clear American goals, sharpened mission focus, and an end to the practice of diffuse, open-ended commitments.

To signal to our servicemen and women our renewed respect, the President proposes to:

  • Add $1.4 billion for a military pay raise and allowances;

  • Increase, by $400 million, funding to improve the quality of housing or reduce out-of-pocket expenses for housing for our military personnel and their families; and

  • Fund new and expanded health benefits for military retirees recently authorized by Congress.

Shape a 21st Century Force Structure

The Cold War is over, but to a too great extent the structure and strategies appropriate to that era of bi-polar, super power stand-off continue to govern our Armed Services. The Cold War posture can trace its origins to the Eisenhower era and the early debates over the New Look strategy. This strategy laid the foundation for the structure of armed forces and deterrence policy that dominated until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Indeed, the last revision to that national security strategy occurred in the Gulf War period with the introduction of a Regional Defense Strategy as a means to transition to the post-Cold War imperatives. That interim strategy has remained transitional and largely unaltered since its introduction a decade ago.

The President has called for a review of the U.S. military posture. The review will examine the imperatives for national security capabilities, scrutinize the structure of our armed forces, and set priorities for research, development, procurement, and operations. These findings will help develop a new national defense architecture, consistent with our alliance obligations and enduring interests, yet suitable to meet the emerging threats of a new century.

In addition, the findings will provide the underpinning for informed decisions about appropriate resource adjustments necessary to carry out the objectives of the review.

Develop Next Generation Weapons Systems

The President is committed to enlisting the power of American technology in the service of national security. In both R&D and acquisitions, he will emphasize programs that offer our Armed Forces information superiority, safety through stealth, and victory achieved less through massed power than superior striking speed, agility and mobility. In short, the President intends to equip the U.S. Armed Forces with the systems and strategy that will allow us to redefine war—on our terms.

To that end, the President challenges the defense technology community to use the present window of relative peace not just to modernize the force but to move beyond incremental improvements on defense systems already deployed and develop the military forces the nation will need for the 21st Century. The President proposes to:

  • Increase defense R&D by $20 billion between 2002 and 2006; and

  • Allocate 20 percent of the R&D budget to especially promising programs that propel America's Armed Forces generations ahead in military technology.

Safeguarding Nuclear Security

Our nuclear weapons remain key to our national security and the President is committed to maintaining a modern and effective force. Nevertheless, the President believes America must rethink the requirements of nuclear deterrence in our new security environment. Most particularly, our deterrent for the future must be based on a combination of offensive and defensive capabilities. While the President will seek to persuade Russia to join us in further reducing nuclear arsenals, he is also prepared to lead by example. The President proposes to maintain our nuclear arsenal with the lowest number of nuclear weapons consistent with our present and future national security needs.

Deploying Missile Defense

As the President said during the campaign, "America's development of a missile defense is a search for security, not a search for advantage."

In a world where more than a dozen nations possess ballistic missile technology, and a number of nations are racing to acquire weapons of mass destruction, America's most pressing national security challenge is to reduce our current vulnerability of our deployed forces and our allies and friends by acquiring defenses against missile attack. Outmoded arms control treaties must not compromise America's security; as the President has said, his "solemn obligation (is) to protect the American people and our allies, not to protect arms control agreements signed almost 30 years ago."

America must build effective missile defenses based on the best available technologies, deployed at the earliest possible date. These defenses must be designed to protect our deployed forces abroad, all 50 States, and our friends and allies overseas.

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