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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 2, 1999


Strengthening America's Military

To ensure that America's Armed Forces are fully prepared to meet the challenges of the next century, the President will propose in his next budget a long-term, sustained increase in defense spending. In keeping with his pledge to work with military leaders to address the nation's defense needs, the President has determined that additional resources are necessary to maintain military readiness; procure modern and effective weapons systems; and to provide appropriate pay, benefits and quality of life improvements for our servicemen and women.

The President's defense budget for next year, fiscal year 2000, will provide an additional $12 billion for readiness needs through a combination of new spending and budgetary savings. This is the start of a six year effort to ensure that America's military continues to be fully prepared to protect our national interests as the world's most powerful fighting force.

The President's FY 2000 budget will:

Provide significant increases for military readiness programs. In order to enhance our military readiness -- to guarantee that our military forces can respond fully at any time -- the President's budget will provide additional resources to:

Strengthen recruitment and retention programs;

Improve unit "manning levels;"

     Increase and enhance training, unit operations and flight 
     hour programs;

     Provide additional spare parts;

     Counter emerging threats such as terrorism and the use of 
     weapons of mass destruction.

     Build for the future by funding weapons modernization programs.  In

order to insure that our armed forces remain the best equipped in the world into the next century, this budget will provide resources to begin paying for the next generation of weapons systems, ships and planes. The FY 2000 defense budget will provide resources to:

     Upgrade and replace aging equipment and weapons with newer, 
     more technologically advanced systems, such as surveillance 
     and tactical aircraft, tactical missile systems, and Humvees 
     and other ground vehicles;

     Integrate cutting edge computer technology into battlefield 
     weapons and communications systems;

     Continue procurement of several ship classes, including 
     DDG-51 Aegis destroyers and LPD-17 Amphibious Transport Dock 
     Ships, and advanced funding for new attack submarines and 
     the next nuclear aircraft carrier;

     Support key aircraft programs, including the F/A-18E/F Super 
     Hornet, F-22 Raptors and Joint Strike Fighter; and

     Develop defense systems against both theater and strategic 
     ballistic missiles.

     Take care of our military men and women and their families.  By 

improving pay, rewarding performance and increasing retirement benefits, the President's budget provides America's servicemen and women with the quality of life they deserve. These improvements will help recruit talented young men and women, and will provide additional incentive for long-term service. The President's budget will provide additional resources to:

Increase across-the-board pay by 4.4%;

     Target additional pay raises to reward performance as well 
     as longevity;

     Raise retirement benefits from 40% to 50% of base pay for 
     members retiring after 20 years;

     Improve educational programs for military and eligible 
     dependents, including construction and maintenance of schools 
     and support for the President's School Technology Initiative, 
     which aims to provide one computer for every four students 
     and one for every teacher.