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bush and gore
comparing al gore & george w. bush's military agendas

under what circumstances would the candidates deploy the U.S. military?


In the closing weeks of the 2000 presidential race, the Bush campaign announced that if they win the election, Bush would work toward redeploying ground forces from their peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. During the campaign Bush maintained that the U.S. military has been drained by prolonged peacekeeping and humanitian work and that these kinds of missions were taking a toll on military morale and readiness.

Bush believes all military missions should be based on U.S. strategic interests and should have clear objectives and exit strategies. He does not want to overcommit the armed forces and would like to see allies shoulder more responsibility in terms of regional conflicts. Bush believes that U.S. regional priorities consist of Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Far East, and he strongly supports maintaining U.S. presence in NATO. He feels that the U.S. should be prepared for military intervention if necessary, but that a strong military will act as a deterrent to security threats.


Gore assailed Bush's proposal to withdraw U.S. forces from the Balkans saying it would be "a damaging blow to NATO" and would jeopardize other U.S. alliances. He has defined six criteria for deciding whether to deploy the military: (1) Is the mission in U.S. national interests? (2) Is military force the only way to solve the conflict? (3) Have all other options been exhausted? (4) Will force solve the problem? (5) Do we have the support of allies? (6) Is the cost of the operation proportionate to the objective? Gore's policy of "forward engagement" calls for early diplomatic intervention to prevent the need for future military deployment.

what are the candidates' plans for increasing the military budget?


Bush's budget allots approximately $45 billion in military spending over the next 10 years, although this number does not include his proposed anti-missile defense system. He would implement pay raises of $1 billion per year, renovate military housing and improve training. Bush would increase defense research and development spending by $20 billion and provide pro-research tax incentives. He pledges to earmark 20% of the procurement budget for acquisition programs that would allow the military to skip a generation of weaponry.


Gore proposes $100 billion in military spending over the next 10 years in order to modernize and transform the armed forces. He would provide a 3.7% across the board pay increase and pledges to improve military family services, health care, retiree benefits and housing. He vows to get all soldiers off food stamps. Gore believes the military should remain committed to increasing the procurement budget to fund the next generation of technology and replace aging systems. He also pledges to invest in the development of future generations of weaponry.

what are the candidates' views on military readiness?


Bush has criticized the current state of the military as "overextended and unprepared for the future." He believes that the Clinton/Gore administration's increased deployment of a smaller force, combined with decreased military spending as a percentage of GDP has had a debilitating effect on the armed forces. Bush would order a comprehensive review to address problems of morale and personnel, and would base any specific improvements on this evaluation.


Gore calls the U.S. military the "best-trained, best-equipped, most capable fighting force in the world." He believes that the Clinton/Gore administration's post-Cold War military build-down has led to a force which is "more agile, more powerful and more effective" at countering new strategic threats. Gore points to his "forward engagement" policy to sustain readiness while modernizing and transforming the armed forces into the information age. He would base many of his decisions about transformation on the 2001 quadrennial defense review.

Also explore:

> George W Bush's official statements and position on military defense.

> Al Gore's official statements and position on military defense.

> Six U.S. defense associations submitted questions on military policy and national security to the Bush and Gore campaigns. Here are the candidates' answers as published on the web site of the Association of the U.S. Army.

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