The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 18, 2004

Supporting and Strengthening the Military and Military Families

      In Focus: Defense

President Bush supports our men and women in uniform and their families. Since 2001, the President's budgets have provided an increase in basic pay for men and women in the military by 21 percent, improved military housing for families living on base, and provided better training and maintenance, and are reducing average housing expenses to zero for military families living off base. In 2003, President Bush requested $87 billion in supplemental funding from Congress to help ensure that the troops fighting the War on Terror have the resources, including body armor and vital equipment, hazard pay, health care, ammunition, fuel and spare parts, to accomplish their mission. The President's proposals address other challenges facing military personnel and their families, including:

Increasing Education Benefits for Reservists and Members of the National Guard
Over 400,000 brave men and women in the Reserves and the National Guard have been mobilized to fight the war on terror since September 11. Today, 147,672 citizen-soldiers are mobilized and serving our country. Educational assistance is a major benefit for members of the National Guard and Reserve; however, the amount of this benefit for these individuals who are called up for extended periods of time is substantially lower than the active-duty benefit. Unlike the active-duty benefit, which has kept pace with the cost of higher education, the Reserve and Guard benefit has lagged behind. To bring this benefit more in line with the military service of the Reservists and members of the National Guard, the President today proposed to increase their monthly education benefit. Reservists and members of the National Guard who have been continuously mobilized for more than 90 days, serving on or after September 11, 2001, will be eligible for this benefit.

Assisting Military Families During Frequent Moves
Our Nation's commitments are being kept by the men and women in our military, and the President believes the cause of freedom is in good hands. There are many challenges for military families as well. One in four military families moves across county lines in a given year, compared to 1 in 12 civilian families. Frequent moves between states pose challenges for military children, in particular with educational issues. The President supports the families that stand behind the men and women of our military, and his new proposals seek to further ease the pressures of life in the military by providing greater stability and predictability.

Ongoing Support for Our Men and Women in Uniform and Their Families
President Bush has promised, and delivered, better pay, better treatment, and better training to members of the Armed Forces. This support attracts America's best into the military and gives them the incentive to remain in the Armed Forces.


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