Senate Appropriations Committee-Defense

Article excerpt

Statement as Prepared for Delivery by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Washington, DC, Wednesday, April 27, 2005.

Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, good afternoon.

Sixty years ago, Allied forces fought in some of the fiercest battles of World War II. Many young men lost their lives and were grievously wounded in those battles, and I would be remiss if I did not recognize the service and heroism of at least two of the members of this distinguished committee.

The outcome of that long, difficult struggle helped to transform much of the world--bringing freedom to distant shores; turning menacing dictatorships into peaceful democracies, and longstanding enemies into friends.

Today, another generation of Americans, along with our Coalition allies, have come to freedom's defense. They are helping millions of liberated people transform their countries from terrorist states into peaceful democracies.

Two weeks ago, I met again with our Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and with officials in countries that are on the front lines of this global struggle. Everywhere we traveled, I saw firsthand our men and women in uniform--volunteers all--undertaking difficult duties with confidence and courage. The debt we owe them and their families is immeasurable. Members of this Committee have visited with the wounded and their families. You, as I, cannot help but come away inspired by their courage, and their skill.

I thank the American people and their Congress for providing the resources and support they need to complete their missions.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the sacrifices they are making have made a difference in bringing about a world that is freer, more peaceful and that rejects the viciousness of terrorism and extremism.

Consider what has been accomplished in three years plus:

* Newly free Afghans and Iraqis have held historic elections that selected moderate Muslim leadership;

* Extremists are under pressure, their false promises being exposed as cruel lies;

* America's national security apparatus is seeing historic changes;

* NATO is undergoing reforms in both organization and mission deploying forces outside of its traditional boundaries; and

* NATO is undergoing reforms in both organization and mission deploying forces outside of its traditional boundaries; and

* Some 60 nations are freshly engaged in an unprecedented multinational effort to address the proliferation of the world's most dangerous weapons.

We are here today to discuss the President's Fiscal Year 2006 request for the Department as well as funding for ongoing operations in the Global War on Terror.

Before discussing dollars, programs and weapons, let me offer some context for the tasks ahead.

When President Bush took office over four years ago, he recognized the need to transform America's defense establishment to meet the unconventional and unpredictable threats of the 21st Century. The attacks of September 11th gave new urgency and impetus to efforts then underway to make our Armed Forces a more agile, expeditionary and lethal force.

The national security apparatus of the United States has undergone, and continues to undergo, historic changes on a number of fronts. We have confronted and are meeting a variety of challenges:

* The urgency of moving military forces rapidly across the globe;

* The necessity of functioning as a truly joint force--as opposed to simply de-conflicting the Services;

* The need to recognize we are engaged in a war and yet still bound by a number of peacetime constraints, regulations and requirements, against an enemy unconstrained by laws; and

* Adjusting to a world where the threat is not from a single superpower, but from various regimes and extremist cells that can work together and proliferate lethal capabilities. …