FACT SHEET: Strengthening and Supporting the Military
Friday, January 5, 2001
"As Commander in Chief, I have no higher duty than this -- to give our troops the tools to take on new missions, while maintaining their readiness to defend our country and defeat any adversary; to make sure they can deploy away from home, knowing their families have the quality of life they deserve; and to make certain their service is not only rewarding, but well-rewarded, from recruitment to retirement."
President Clinton, January 2, 1999
Our military forces are ready to fight and are better prepared to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. When America’s interests have been at stake, in Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, the Persian Gulf, East Timor and other locations around the world, our forces have consistently performed with distinction. At the same time, the Administration has taken steps to transform the military to deal with new kinds of threats and challenges the United States will face in the 21st century.
- Increasing resources. The Administration has reversed a decade and a half decline in defense budgets. Defense spending declined 24% from 1985 - 1993. After overseeing a restructuring of the military in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War, we provided increased funding for defense and continued increases are planned.
- Giving our troops the resources necessary to properly train and effectively operate anywhere in the world. Today we spend 22% more on operations and maintenance in current dollars than we did in 1993.
- Improving readiness. The percent of Forces Most Ready for active Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force is comparable to 1993 readiness levels. In addition, in FY00, the President provided a program increase to the Defense Department of $112B, much of which addresses readiness issues. The President’s budget provided an increase of $4.4 billion for FY 2001 and adds $28.6 billion over the next five years for readiness. This ensures that we give top priority to support unit training and equipment maintenance, recruitment and retention goals, and sufficient spare parts.
- Doing what’s right for our people. Over the last two years, the Administration has worked hard to provide the right incentives and quality of life for our military members. The Administration is implementing the largest pay raise in a generation while improving benefits, and restoring full retirement plans for a large portion of the force.
- For FY00 President Clinton proposed, and Congress enacted, the largest single increase in military compensation in a generation. Some raises for those at critical points in their careers were 10.3% and at least 4.8% across the board for every person in uniform. For FY01, President Clinton requested another base pay raise of 3.7%, coupled with a major boost to housing allowances for those living off-base, and several improvements in health care.
- Investing wisely for the future. The Administration has evaluated the kinds of weapons systems needed for the 21st Century and the kinds of investments needed to meet new threats to our security. The Armed Services are hard at work on transforming and modernizing our weapons systems. For the fourth straight year in a row, the Administration has proposed real increases to the military procurement account -- from 1997 to 2001, the budget increased 33 percent, from $45.4 billion to $60.3 billion.
- Remaining ahead of the competition. The Administration has continued to robustly fund the Science & Technology budget even while our forces were downsized following the end of the Cold War. The $7.5B to fund Science and Technology for FY’01 exceeds what the rest of the world combined will spend in the same period.
- Reducing overseas deployments. Since the latter days of the Cold War in 1988 and 1989, the Administration has reduced the number of service members stationed overseas by 50%. Of a total of approximately 250,000 troops overseas today, 220,000 are either permanently stationed abroad with operational or support units, or participate in routine deployments for training. Just over 30,000 are engaged in "peacekeeping" or "non-routine" operations. Of those,
- Nearly 20,000 of the 30,000 are in the Persian Gulf – protecting our vital national interests, while containing Saddam Hussein; and
- Approximately 12,000 are in the Balkans. European nations bear the heaviest burden, both in terms of troops and assistance aimed at civilian reconstruction. Our forces in that region comprise less than 20% of the 60,000 NATO and other troops that ensure stability in the Balkans, while sustaining our leadership role in NATO.