[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book I)]
[March 11, 1993]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]
Remarks to Westinghouse Employees in Linthicum, Maryland
March 11, 1993
Thank you very much. I want to say a special word of thanks to the
people from Westinghouse who greeted me when I arrived: Gary Clark, who
introduced me, Dick Linder, Gladys Green, Rich O'Leary, and Gary Eder.
And thank you to all of you who made this tour possible.
I want to thank the Members of the United States Congress who are
here, who have worked very hard for a long time and before I became
President to help to design a plan to strengthen our economy even as we
reduce military spending. Your Senators, Barbara Mikulski and Paul
Sarbanes, are here. Your Congressman, Ben Cardin, is here. Senator Jeff
Bingaman of New Mexico; Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of
California; Senator Bill Cohen of Maine; Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode
Island; Congressman Martin Frost of Texas; Congresswoman Jane Harman of
California; and Congressman Tom Foglietta of Pennsylvania. I think that
is the entire delegation here, along with Mayor Kurt Schmoke of
Baltimore and Governor Schaefer. I'm glad to see all of them. I have to
note here, you can tell who the best politician is. Of all these people
I've introduced, only Senator Mikulski found a seat. [Laughter]
I'd also like to thank the members of my Cabinet who have helped to
work on the statement that I will announce today who are here: the
Defense Secretary Les Aspin, Labor Secretary Bob Reich, Veterans Affairs
Director Jesse Brown, Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary, Commerce Secretary
Ron Brown. I want to thank all of them for their work.
All of you know from personal experience how much American industry
has been changed by the cutbacks in defense. Defense spending peaked in
1985. And by 1997, it will have been reduced approximately 40 percent,
perhaps more, from its 1985 peak. These changes have led not only to
reductions in military personnel abroad and closings of bases at home
but dramatic changes in military contracting that have affected
companies like this one and which have affected the economies of the
States of California, Connecticut, Texas, and many others.
It has been said that while change is certain, progress is not. And
that certainly is true when it comes to the challenge of meeting the
national economic goals that we have in the face of cutbacks in military
spending. As I said, these cutbacks have been made since 1985; more are
to come. They are essential in a world in which we need funds to be
reinvested in the domestic economy and in which the security threats we
meet today, while very serious, are different and clearly less expensive
than those we faced when the Soviet Union and the United States faced
each other across the Berlin Wall with the barriers of the cold war and
the imminent prospect of nuclear war. So these changes had to come. But
if we do nothing in the face of change, we have learned the hard way
that we are its victims. If we take bold action, we can be the
beneficiaries of change.
All of you here at Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group are proof
that you can make change your friend. In 1986, just 16 percent of the
work done here was nondefense. Today, it's 27 percent. By 1995, half or
more of your work will be nondefense. What you have done here is what I
wish to do nationally: take some
of the most talented people in the world who produce some of the most
sophisticated military technology and put that to work in the civilian
The military surveillance technology I have seen here can now be
used to help commercial airlines avoid wind shears. Military security
technology can now be used to help police officers on the streets and in
their patrol cars to be safer and to solve crimes and to find missing
children more rapidly. State-of-the-art batteries is helping here to
develop an electric car which may well provide an enormous opportunity
for America to become more energy-independent and to dramatically reduce
the pollution of our atmosphere, at a time when we have been reminded
anew that there really is a hole in the ozone layer and there really are
problems with unlimited emissions of CO2.
Clearly, defense conversion can be done and can be done well, making
change our friend and not our enemy. But in order to do it we must act,
act decisively, act intelligently, and not simply react years after the
Last year, when a candidate for President, I outlined a plan to
create new jobs in the civilian economy. Anticipating this challenge,
farsighted Members of Congress appropriated approximately $1.5 billion
for defense conversion last year, including ideas that literally came
from the minds and the efforts of some of the Members of Congress who
are here with us today. They've demonstrated aggressiveness in adapting
to change. But until today, in spite of that act, none of the money
appropriated by Congress was released, and there was no comprehensive
plan for what to do with it.
Today I want to explain how we're going to put your money to work to
put Americans to work and how we're planning for the future by investing
in our people, encouraging our companies, and assisting our communities.
Our first priority has to be investing in our people. Keep in mind, as
you all know here, when the defense budget is reduced, that affects,
obviously, contracts and therefore the jobs of people who work in the
private sector. It also affects the size of the military force itself,
the configuration of our defense forces abroad and here at home, and the
people who will be affected by the reductions.
Our defense reinvestment and conversion initiative will rededicate
$375 million right away to help working people affected by defense
reductions with employment services, job training, and transition
assistance; $150 million of that will go to Government and employer-
sponsored job training programs; $112 million will help members of the
Guard and the Reserves make the transition to civilian life and to
provide severance pay and health benefits to civilians who are leaving
There's also initiative to provide early retirement benefits for
military personnel with 15 years of service or more, to start a new
program to encourage them to put their skills to work in vital areas
like teaching, law enforcement, environmental restoration, and health
care. Under a provision offered by Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, any
member of the military who is being mustered out with 15 years or more
of service can go to work in law enforcement, for example, and earn a
year of military retirement for every year they were in law enforcement,
so that these people who have committed their lives to the service of
our country and could not reasonably have known that this reduction
would occur and would affect them can still earn their military
retirement by serving their country here at home.
We must also recognize the ripple effect of defense adjustment and
target assistance to our communities. In 1993 alone, we will triple the
budget of the Defense Department's Office of Economic Adjustment. The
$30 million we've committed to this task will be invested in helping our
communities find the tools and the expertise to adjust to the changed
nature of their local economy. It will be an investment that pays off in
In addition, through the Commerce Department, we'll invest another
$80 million in a revolving loan and grant program to directly and
immediately aid communities hit hardest by defense cuts.
Finally, the Secretary of Defense has assured me that he will do
everything he can to speed the environmental cleanup on bases that are
closed so that they can be turned over either to commercial purposes or
to local government at the earliest possible time so that there will be
a minimum loss of economic activity in areas where bases are closed.
But all the worker training in the world and all the community
assistance in the world will do no good if there are no jobs for those
workers and no businesses for those communities. The private sector is
the engine of lasting eco-
nomic growth in our system, and therefore, our plan must help our
companies to make these transitions to compete and to win.
We seek to go beyond the debate of the past in which some thought
Government alone could do everything and others claimed Government could
do nothing. In this area there are two things Government can do to aid
companies like this one: promote dual use research and promote civilian
use of technology that was formerly developed for military purposes.
That is what you have done here. We want to speed and expand that
process all across the United States.
One of the success stories of the cold war was the Defense Advanced
Research Agency, or DARPA. DARPA helped keep America on the cutting edge
of defense research. To meet the new challenges of the new world, we're
giving DARPA a new mission and restoring its old name, because before
1972 that Agency was known simply as the Advanced Research Products
Agency. By going back to that name and refocusing the Agency's efforts
on dual use technologies, such as that which you have demonstrated to me
here today, rather than strictly military applications, we'll be better
able to integrate research to strengthen defense and to promote our
economic security here at home.
Starting now, this Agency, ARPA, will allocate more than $500
million to technology and industrial programs like the ones we've seen
here today. We'll support industry-led consortia and dual use
technologies and promote efforts to break through with commercial uses
of formerly defense technologies. Programs will be selected on the basis
of merit and will require matching funds from the corporations affected.
We're even going to set up a toll-free number to attract good ideas from
good companies. And you will like this. The number is 1-800-DUAL-USE.
The hotline will be hooked up tomorrow, so don't call today. [Laughter]
To help walk companies through their new opportunities, ARPA will
provide them with this book, which puts together programs from the
Defense Department, the Department of Commerce, the Department of
Energy, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. It is a remarkable
coalition of Agencies finally putting all the information together for
defense technology conversion, reinvestment, and transition assistance.
To further coordinate assistance, ARPA will work with four other
Agencies, the ones I just mentioned. And we're going to have a series of
regional outreach meetings all across this country, again, to try to
mobilize other companies to get involved in this initiative so that they
can save or create jobs instead of lose jobs in the face of defense
We want Government-industry partnerships to help develop advanced
materials. We want companies to form regional technology alliances so
they can share information and develop new products and new markets. Our
manufacturing extension programs will help bring state-of-the-art
technology to companies in much the same way as the Agricultural
Extension Service helped our farmers more than two generations ago begin
to become the most productive in the world. And through the Small
Business Innovation Research Program, we'll help small businesses in
their efforts to develop dual use technology.
But dual use technology is just the beginning. We have to explore
also new opportunities in purely civilian technologies. This year alone,
we'll invest $300 million in emerging nondefense technology. The
Department of Energy will speed the transfer of technology to private
industry from our national labs. And when Congress passes the stimulus
package I have proposed, we'll have millions more to invest in research
and development partnerships, in advanced technology programs, and in
computer networks for schools and libraries around the country.
As with every aspect of the program for change I have asked the
American people and the Congress to embrace, defense conversion will
require us to literally reimagine and reinvent the way Government works.
I've asked the National Economic Council to take the lead in our efforts
to streamline and coordinate our conversion efforts so that you don't
have to deal with a big bureaucracy where all the information is in many
different places and sometimes seems to be operating at cross purposes.
Shifting to a civilian economy is of obvious concern to the Defense
Department, but it's also the business of the Commerce Department, the
Labor Department, the Energy Department, NASA, and many other agencies,
including the Department of Veterans Affairs, which will have even more
veterans now as people are coming out of the service and going into the
civilian work force. Our National Economic Council will
cut through redtape, break through turf battles, and help to deliver
services to our customers quickly and efficiently.
I don't pretend that this will be easy, and all of it will take some
time. But the choice we face is between bold action to build a stronger
and safer and smarter America, or continuing to cut defense with no
appropriate response or with one that is too localized and too limited.
The soldier-statesman Dwight Eisenhower once observed that the
resourceful American makers of plowshares could, with time and as
required, make swords as well. Our challenge is now to reverse the
process. You have given us a stunning example of just how brilliantly
that can be done here in this fine facility. I know today that the
world's finest makers of swords can and will be the finest makers of
plowshares, and they will lead America into a new century of strength,
growth, and opportunity.
Thank you very much.
Note: The President spoke at 12:29 p.m. at Westinghouse Electric Corp.
In his remarks, he referred to Dick Linder, president, Westinghouse
Electronic Systems Group; Gary Clark, acting CEO, Westinghouse Electric
Corp.; and union local presidents Gladys Green, IBEW, Rick O'Leary, IUE,
and Gary Eder, Salaried Employees Association.