$317 billion includes funding for DOD 'transformation,' counterterrorism initiatives
President Bush has signed the $317.2 billion fiscal 2002 Defense appropriations bill and hinted that the massive spending bill is only part of a long-term effort to increase Defense spending.
"The bill I'm about to sign makes a down-payment on essential commitment," Bush said at a Pentagon signing ceremony Jan. 10.
In addition to funding DOD activities, the bill also includes the second emergency spending bill following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This second bill seeks to address counterterrorism more specifically.
Bush, in addition to signing the DOD appropriations bill, also signed the fiscal 2002 foreign operations appropriations act and the fiscal 2002 Labor, Education and Health and Human Services appropriations bill.
During the Pentagon ceremony, Bush said the DOD spending bill will help transform the forces. "This will allow us to revolutionize the battlefield of the future," he said.
Earlier this week, Navy Secretary Gordon England said that the large increases in DOD spending will help the armed forces and the Navy tackle many of the systemic problems that have confounded the service in recent years.
Even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration had proposed an increase of $18.2 billion for DOD, England said. That was to be followed by an additional $10 billion in fiscal 2003. The New York Times reported this month that the Pentagon would be requesting a significant increase for fiscal 2003, somewhere in the range of $20 billion.
While England did not mention the how much DOD will be seeking in the future, he said that the increased spending on DOD and Navy will "allow us to fix a lot of the problems that have existed for a long time."
"By '03, we will have fixed all the underlying issues" that have confronted the Navy, England said during a speech Jan. 8 before the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Washington, D.C. chapter.
While England did not list DOD's problems, some of those issues include increasing pay and living conditions of DOD personnel, he said.
DOD transformation is still a major push, he said. "You will see significant changes [at DOD] as time goes on or I will be very disappointed," England said.
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