[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[November 11, 1998]
[Page 2016]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Funding for Military Readiness
November 11, 1998

    Today, as part of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency 
Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, I am releasing $1.1 billion in 
military readiness funding that will enhance our Armed Forces' ability 
to maintain high standards of readiness throughout the coming year.
    I consider military readiness--ensuring that our forces are always 
prepared to carry out their assigned mission in peace and in war--to be 
among America's highest priorities.
    On September 15 I met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Unified 
Commanders in Chief, and they advised that, while our current state of 
readiness is sound, there are real concerns about the future. While our 
forces are now capable of meeting the security needs of the Nation, the 
chiefs raised several concerns about military readiness, especially 
regarding the future readiness of follow-on troops who would be deployed 
in a sustained conflict.
    In response, I made a commitment to add resources to the current 
year's budget that will address emerging readiness concerns by reducing 
the backlog of equipment awaiting maintenance, buying additional spare 
parts for Air Force and Navy aircraft, and improving our recruiting 
efforts. In addition, I have ordered a thorough and complete readiness 
review, involving the Department of Defense, the National Security 
Council, and the Office of Management and Budget, as part of my 
administration's budget review process for fiscal year 2000.
    The review process for fiscal year 2000 is already underway, and I 
anticipate a series of budget and policy proposals that will continue 
our effort to ensure that U.S. forces remain ready to meet the security 
needs of the Nation. Our challenge is to strike a balance between 
providing sufficient resources for military readiness while maintaining 
fiscal discipline and appropriate funding levels for other investments 
necessary to sustain our economy.
    I look forward to working with the next Congress to ensure a viable 
defense budget that continues to guarantee that our forces are prepared, 
while investing wisely in modernization and supporting the overall 
policy goals of my administration. And I am pleased that this action 
today will address the most immediate readiness needs of the U.S. 

Note: H.R. 4328, the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental 
Appropriations Act, 1999, approved October 21, was assigned Public Law 
No. 105-277.