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On the Restructuring of U.S. Military Forces
President's Remarks to Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention
Cincinnati, August 16, 2004

White House Fact Sheet


Our Armed Forces have changed a lot. They're more agile and more lethal, they're better able to strike anywhere in the world over great distances on short notice. Yet for decades, America's Armed Forces abroad have essentially remained where the wars of the last century ended, in Europe and in Asia. America's current force posture was designed, for example, to protect us and our allies from Soviet aggression -- the threat no longer exists.

More than three years ago, we launched a comprehensive review of America's global force posture -- the numbers, types, locations, and capabilities of U.S. forces around the world. We've consulted closely with our allies and with Congress; we've examined the challenges posed by today's threats and emerging threats. And so, today I announce a new plan for deploying America's Armed Forces.

Over the coming decade, we'll deploy a more agile and more flexible force, which means that more of our troops will be stationed and deployed from here at home. We'll move some of our troops and capabilities to new locations, so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. We'll take advantage of 21st century military technologies to rapidly deploy increased combat power.

The new plan will help us fight and win these wars of the 21st century. It will strengthen our alliances around the world, while we build new partnerships to better preserve the peace. It will reduce the stress on our troops and our military families. Although we'll still have a significant presence overseas, under the plan I'm announcing today, over the next 10 years, we will bring home about 60,000 to 70,000 uniformed personnel, and about 100,000 members and civilian employees -= family members and civilian employees.

See, our service members will have more time on the home front, and more predictability and fewer moves over a career. Our military spouses will have fewer job changes, greater stability, more time for their kids and to spend with their families at home. The taxpayers will save money, as we configure our military to meet the threats of the 21st century. There will be savings as we consolidate and close bases and facilities overseas no longer needed to face the threats of our time and defend the peace.

The world has changed a great deal, and our posture must change with it, for the sake of our military families, for the sake of our taxpayers, and so we can be more effective at projecting our strength and spreading freedom and peace. (Applause.)

Today, our troops have the most advanced technologies at their disposal -- weapons are more lethal, more precise than were available for you. Our troops are more mobile, they can communicate better. Yet their success in the wars we fight is being made possible by the same thing that made your success possible: personal courage, love of country, dedication to duty.

As our troops fight today in Baghdad and Najaf, and the Hindu Kush mountains and elsewhere, I know America's veterans feel a special pride in them. They're carrying on your legacy of sacrifice and service. They're determined to see the mission through. This country stands with them.

I want to thank you for the example you have set for our men and women in uniform. I want to thank you for your idealism, for your dedication to God and our country. May God bless you all. And may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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