30 Jan 02. u.s. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used the daily Pentagon press briefing to give some details about President Bush’s fiscal 2003 defense
budget proposals, which the White House plans to release Feb. 4. The President announced a budget request increase of $48bn, the largest since the eighties dwarfing the combined defence budgets of the UK and France.
The budget will focus on winning the global war on terrorism, transforming the military, and streamlining the Defense Department, Rumsfeld told reporters this afternoon.
“The new budget is designed to strengthen the armed forces for today’s global war on terror and to better prepare the armed forces for the wars that we may have to face in the period ahead,” Rumsfeld said.
The secretary said the United States can’t afford to wait to transform the military for the threats of the 21st century even as the country continues to wage war on terrorism.
Rumsfeld said the president has characterized this budget as the largest increase in defense spending since the 1980s. The budget proposal will include resources for precision-guided munitions, missile defense, unmanned vehicles, and “advanced equipment for soldiers on the ground,” he said.
It also provides for programs to better manage the department’s business practices. “It streamlines and retires a number of defense programs that do not fit with our strategy for the 21st century,” Rumsfeld said.
The improvements called for in the 2003 budget were designed “to help us ensure that Americans will be able to live in peace and freedom in the 21st century,” he said.
“The United States will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most dangerous weapons,” Bush said.
Rumsfeld said the leaders of those countries should take Bush at his word.
“I think if I were in Iran or North Korea or Iraq and I heard the president of the United States say what he said last night about weapons of mass destruction, and about terrorism, and about terrorist networks, and about nations that harbor terrorists, I don’t think there’d be a lot of ambiguity as to the view he holds of those problems,” Rumsfeld said.
He continued, “The new budget is designed to help build an armed force that is
prepared to contend with surprise — and let there be no doubt, there will be surprises, undoubtedly somewhat different from September 11th, but surely there will be surprises again. There are those who seem to think that all transformation really is to fire some senior military officer or cancel some major weapon system. I read that from time to time. That’s not the case. Transformation is an ongoing process. It is not something that ends; it is a continuum because the world is not static. And it’s a process in which we create an effective fighting force with new ways of thinking, with new culture, and with new ways of fighting and, to be sure, in some instances with new weapon systems and platforms, but also how they are used together, as we’ve seen in Afghanistan.”