Bill Clinton on Defense

Decrease force size but increase quality

I have kept my pledge to maintain and modernize our defense capabilities. We completed a comprehensive review of our military needs for the future and restructured our forces. Even as the size of our forces decreased, their capabilities, readiness, and qualitative edge have increased.
  • As a result, our military and intelligence forces are more mobile, agile, precise, flexible, smart, and ready than ever before. Today the mere threat of our force can deter would-be aggressors.
    Source: Between Hope and History, by Bill Clinton, p.148-149 Jan 1, 1996

    Finally, not a single Russian nuke is aimed at US

    The dissolution of the Soviet Union created 4 nuclear powers-Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, & Ukraine-where once there had been just one. I saw it as my highest responsibility to continue the work of my predecessors to reduce the threat from Russia and to eliminate it entirely from the other 3 newly independent states. Today, for the first time in decades, not a single Russian nuclear missile is aimed at an American city. We are cutting Russian and American arsenals by 2/3 from their Cold War height.
    Source: Between Hope and History, by Bill Clinton, p.154-155 Jan 1, 1996

    Build a sensible missile defense, not “Star Wars”

    It only takes a lump of plutonium the size of a soda can to build a bomb, and rogue states are an ever-present threat. It will be more than a decade before any such state will have the ability to launch a long-range missile attack against the continental US, but in the meantime we must build a sensible national missile defense program. There are some in the Congress who want to revive the recklessly expensive and extreme “Star Wars” scheme-a costly system that is neither necessary nor prudent and that would violate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. What we need is a practical, smart missile defense based on real, not theoretical, threats, and that is exactly what we are getting. We’re already spending $3 billion a year to develop such a defense by 2000, one that will be deployable by 2003, if needed-well before the threat becomes real. In addition, we are beefing up programs to defend against existing threats such as short- and medium-range missile attacks against our troops and allies.
    Source: Between Hope and History, by Bill Clinton, p.156 Jan 1, 1996

    Other candidates on Defense: Bill Clinton on other issues:
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    George W. Bush
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    Ralph Nader

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