Our military serves as the backbone of our national security strategy, and the President is committed to maintain a strong and capable military that protects our freedoms and our global leadership role as we approach the 21st Century. In an effort to achieve these goals, the budget proposes a long-term sustained average annual real increase of about 1 percent in defense funding to enhance the military's readiness and operations, build for the future with weapons system modernization, and take care of military troops and their families by enhancing quality of life, thereby increasing recruitment and retention. More specifically, the budget includes the following:

· Enhancing Military Readiness and Operations: American forces must be ready and able to respond and deploy rapidly to the full spectrum of crises -- major theater wars, smaller scale contingency missions, or counter terrorism operations. This budget increases funding for readiness programs to ensure that the military sustains a high level of preparedness to carry out all of its missions and that flying hour programs, recruiting efforts, manning levels, and unit training programs are fully funded.

· Weapons System Modernization: The U.S. military must be the best equipped in the world--it must have leading edge technologies and well-maintained equipment in sufficient numbers to meet mission goals. The budget proposes $53 billion for weapon systems modernization programs, an increase of $4 billion over 1999.

·Taking Care of Military Personnel and their Families: The budget requests $73.7 billion, which is $2.8 billion over the 1999 level, to cover the pay and allowances of 1,385,000 active duty and 865,000 reserve military personnel. Over the five year period starting in 2000, the budget will increase by $20 billion over previously planned levels to help ensure that personnel readiness is sustained. Included in this increase is funding for the following:

· A 4.4 percent pay raise in 2000 and 3.9 percent in each year thereafter;

· A pay raise for select personnel effective July 1, 2000 to provide greater rewards for military promotions; and

· Military retirement reforms to reduce disparities in retirement benefits among military members.


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