|President Signs 2003 Defense Appropriations Package|
President Signs 2003 Defense Appropriations Package
By Tech. Sgt. Scott Elliott, Air Force Print News.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPN) October 24, 2002 -- President Bush signed the fiscal 2003 Defense Appropriations Act on Oct. 23, giving the military $355 billion with which to confront "grave new dangers."
This year's defense bill authorizes the military to spend more than $37 billion above last year's budget.
"The security of the American people is the first commitment of the American government," Bush said. "Our nation must fully support the men and women of our military who confront these dangers on our behalf."
According to the president, the legislation authorizes a 4.1 percent pay raise for servicemembers, provides additional full-time support personnel for the National Guard and Reserve, and continues to reduce the out-of-pocket cost for housing.
Besides the appropriations bill, Bush signed the 2003 Military Construction Appropriations Act, authorizing $10.5 billion for building and upgrading installations and military family housing.
"We're taking care of our people," Bush said. "We want the people who wear the uniform to know America appreciates their service."
In authorizing nearly $58 billion for research and development, the bill allows the Air Force to make major advances in transformational technology.
"The bill ends some weapons systems that aren't going to meet the needs of the future," the president said. "Instead we will fund new systems, systems that will enable our military to do a more effective job at defending America and our freedoms, systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles like the Predator and Global Hawk that we've used so effectively in Afghanistan."
- Provides $265 million for B-2 Spirit bomber research and development.
- Authorizes $4.7 billion for R&D and procurement of 23 F-22 Raptors.
- Provides $3.3 billion to purchase 15 C-17 Globemaster III airlift aircraft.
- Allows $3.5 billion for Joint Strike Fighter R&D.
- Appropriates more than $7 billion for ballistic missile defense.
- Provides $770 million for the purchase of satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
- Grants $882 million for the joint-service drug interdiction mission.
- Provides $150 million for breast cancer and prostate cancer research.
"(This bill) sends a clear signal to friend and foe alike, that it doesn't matter how long it takes to defend our freedom; the United States of America will stay the course," Bush said.
"The bill says America is determined and resolute to not only defend our freedom, but freedom around the world," he said. "We're determined and resolute to answer the call to history, and that we will defeat terror."