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President Bush Signs Defense Bill - 2002-01-10

President Bush has signed a nearly $318 billion defense bill that boosts spending for military operations in the war on terrorism.

Mr. Bush signed the bill during a visit to the Pentagon, one of the targets of suicide terrorists last September 11.

The President says that since that date, U.S. military personnel have distinguished themselves, sending a clear message about their readiness not only to the American people but to terrorists hiding in caves. "Since September the 11th, the skill, the daring and the courage of our men and women in uniform is now clear to all," he said. "It's clear to your fellow Americans and it's clear to those who try to hide in caves."

He says Afghanistan has been liberated from oppression and many people saved from starvation in a combined military and humanitarian operation.

But Mr. Bush says the war on terrorism will go on and remains what he calls a just and noble cause. "You're delivering justice, not revenge but justice to agents of terror," said President Bush.

The defense spending legislation signed by the President provides nearly $30 billion more for the military this fiscal year than last.

It provides for a substantial pay increase for military personnel along with funding for overseas operations in Afghanistan as well as in Bosnia and Kosovo.

In addition, the bill provides nearly $8 billion for continued missile defense research along with funding for a variety of new weapons systems including advanced aircraft.