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V. American Leadership In the World -
"More than anything else, our armed forces guarantee our security and our global influence. They are the backbone of our diplomacy. They ensure our credibility....Time and again, the
American military has demonstrated its extraordinary skills. As I pledged from the beginning of our administration, the United States will have the best-equipped, best-trained, best-prepared military in the world. We are keeping that promise every day.
Our forces are ready to fight."
President Clinton Veterans of Foreign Wars, March 6,
The President is committed to maintaining the best-equipped, best-trained and best-prepared
military in the world. Military readiness is central to supporting our strategy of fighting
and winning two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts (MRC). Our military will continue to possess the capability of deterring and defeating aggression in two
MRCs, providing a credible overseas presence, countering weapons of mass destruction, contributing to multi-lateral peace operations, and supporting counterterrorism efforts and other national security objectives.
Prior Readiness-Related Initiatives
The two-MRC strategy also means providing the force enhancements we need to fully realize the
capabilities of our forces. This commitment was clearly demonstrated in 1994 when the
administration won key votes in Congress on the C-17 program, an air frame that demonstrated
its great value and versatility when it flew 66,000 pounds of cargo to the Persian Gulf during
our reinforcement of Kuwait in October 1994.
During his first two years of office, President Clinton took the following readiness-related
In 1994, he increased the Budget Authority for the FY 1995 defense budget by $2.4 billion and added $11.4 billion back to the defense spending plan across the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP)
In the FY 1995 defense budget,
President Clinton increased Operations and Maintenance funding by 5.7%, even though the size of the force decreased by 7%. In other words, the dollars available for readiness purposes in FY 1995 on a per-soldier basis were substantially increased. This
resulted in a higher level of military readiness.
Committed to the Future
The administration is committed to the following readiness-related initiatives:
Adding $25 billion in defense spending over the next six years. This future funding is designed specifically
to accomplish four goals:
Assure continued military readiness;
Adequately fund the Bottom Up Review (BUR) and Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) conventional and nuclear force structures;
Improve the Quality-of-Life of the men and women
in our Armed Forces (which includes the full pay raise authorized under current law): and
Fund needed modernization programs.
Working closely with Congress to develop an effective funding mechanism to pay for unexpected contingency operations.
Secretary Perry briefed Congress on such a proposal on January 25 when he spoke of a readiness preservation authority mechanism that permits DoD to borrow from future operations and maintenance funds to pay for contingency operations.
Passing a $2.6 billion defense supplemental prior to April. The administration is working closely with Congress to ensure rapid passage of the supplemental and preclude the readiness-related difficulties encountered in late 1994 when delays in passing a
supplemental forced a reduction in military training activities. In order to prevent training cuts this year, Congress must pass the supplemental before April 1.