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Bush Requests Major Hike in Defense Spending - 2002-01-23


President Bush is proposing the biggest increase in U.S. defense spending in two decades. Mr. Bush says the military will get all the resources it needs in his 2003 budget to wage and win the war on terrorism.

The president said strengthening the military is his top budget priority. "My '03 budget calls for more than $48 billion in new defense spending," he added. "This will be the largest increase in defense spending in the last twenty years."

Mr. Bush made the announcement during an appearance before a gathering of military reserve officers. There were cheers when he unveiled his defense budget plan. "Those who review our budget must understand that we are asking a lot of our men and women in uniform," said Mr. Bush. "And we will be asking more of them in the future. In return, they deserve every resource, every weapon needed to achieve the final and full victory."

He said if Congress approves his $380 billion defense budget, U.S. troops will get another pay raise, and the Pentagon will get more money for the latest military systems. He went on to say, "We will invest in more precision weapons, in missile defenses, in unmanned vehicles, in high tech equipment for soldiers on the ground."

The president noted that the tools of modern warfare are expensive, but they are also effective. He stressed America is willing to pay the price. "Buying these tools may put a strain on the budget," he said. "But we will not cut corners when it comes to the defense of our great land."

President Bush also announced that he will propose a major increase in budget outlays for homeland security. The money will be used to hire more airport security workers and FBI agents, provide more resources for local police and fire departments, and help the public health service deal with the threat of bioterrorism.

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