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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 16, 2004

Fact Sheet: Making America More Secure by Transforming Our Military

"Over the coming decade, we will deploy a more agile and more flexible force, which means that more of our troops will be stationed and deployed from here at home. We will move some of our troops and capabilities to new locations, so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. We'll take advantage of 21st century military technologies to rapidly deploy increased combat power. The new plan will help us fight and win these wars of the 21st century. It will strengthen our alliances around the world, while we build new partnerships to better preserve the peace. It will reduce the stress on our troops and our military families."

President George W. Bush
August 16, 2004

Today's Presidential Action

Goals of Our Plan for a 21st Century Military


Our military global posture, developed to defend against Cold War adversaries, is not optimized to meet today's threats to our national security. Following World War II and the Korean War, our global posture focused on threats to specific regions and tailored our military presence to those regions. Our Cold War posture was established with the certainty that we knew our adversaries and where potential battles would be fought. But with the demise of the Soviet Union, once-familiar threats gave way to less predictable dangers. The lessons of the last 15 years teach us that we often send our forces to unpredictable places. The Cold War strategy of placing heavy forces in specific locations to defend against a known adversary needs to be changed to more effectively deal with today's threats.

It is no longer relevant to measure America's war-fighting capability by the number of troops and equipment in a particular country or region. During the 1990s, our military began a transformation from the industrial age to the information age. In this age, reach, stealth, precision, knowledge, and combat power, and not just the size of forces, allow us to dominate the battlespace. We learned that small, highly trained and networked units, platforms, and even individual warriors can have an effect on the battlefield that was previously reserved for much larger formations. Today, one high-tech ship or tank or aircraft can deliver the same combat power that once required ten ships or tanks or aircraft.

The Bush Administration is working to transform our forces to more effectively confront the dangers of the 21st century and better protect America and our vital interests. Early in 2001, the Bush Administration adopted a new defense strategy that recognized the changing nature of warfare and the need for the Department of Defense to transform its institutions, its way of doing business, and its structures, both within the United States and abroad, in order to meet the challenges of the new era.

The 9/11 attacks magnified the new era of uncertainty that the Administration had previously recognized and had begun to prepare for in the 2001 defense strategy. Operations in Afghanistan -- and the global war on terror more broadly -- brought to the forefront the need to conduct a strategy-based review of our global defense posture. That review, conducted in close consultation with Congress and our allies, has served as the cornerstone of the President's defense transformation agenda.

Outline of Changes

Europe: Our efforts will support NATO's own transformation. We aim to eliminate Cold War infrastructures that are no longer relevant to today's security needs, replacing them with more flexible, deployable forces and headquarters. Our future posture will contain forward forces that are rapidly deployable for early entry into conflict both in Europe and beyond.

The Middle East Region: Cooperation and access provided by coalition partners during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom provide us with a solid basis for other forms of future cooperation.

Asia: We will improve our ability to deter, dissuade, and defeat challenges in Asia through strengthened long-range strike capabilities, streamlined and consolidated headquarters, and a network of access arrangements.

Africa and Latin America: We will expand our cooperative security relationships in Latin America and Africa to help partners meet the challenges they face.


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