May 24, 2000

Governor Bush Proposes New Leadership On
National Security

Bush Seeks Deployment of Missile Defense and Reduction of Missiles

WASHINGTON, DC—Saying America needs a "new approach to nuclear security that matches a new era," Texas Governor George W. Bush today called for a national security policy focused on creating a missile defense system to protect all 50 states and U.S. friends and allies, combined with reductions in the number of nuclear missiles consistent with America’s national security.

Governor Bush spoke after meeting with a group of national security experts including George Shultz, former Secretary of State; Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and architect of the U.S.-Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense; Colin Powell, retired general and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor.

"Today I am here with some of our nation’s leading statesmen and defense experts," Governor Bush said. "And there is broad agreement that our nation needs a new approach to nuclear security that matches a new era. It is time to leave the Cold War behind, and defend against the new threats of the 21st century."

To meet the challenges of the new post-Cold War era, Governor Bush called for America’s national security to be based on two goals:

Creation of an effective missile defense to protect all 50 states, U.S. forces abroad and American friends and allies from limited missile attacks by rogue nations or accidental launches.

Prompt review of American military requirements, leading to reductions in the number of American nuclear weapons, consistent with America’s post - Cold War national security needs.

Governor Bush explained: "America must build effective missile defenses, based on the best available options, at the earliest possible date. Our missile defense must be designed to protect all 50 states — and our friends and allies and deployed forces overseas — from missile attacks by rogue nations, or accidental launches."

Governor Bush continued: "America should rethink the requirements for nuclear deterrence in a new security environment. As President, I will ask the Secretary of Defense to conduct an assessment of our nuclear force posture and determine how best to meet our security needs. While the exact number of weapons can come only from such an assessment, I will pursue the lowest possible number consistent with our national security. It should be possible to reduce the number of American nuclear weapons significantly further than what has already been agreed to under START II, without compromising our security in any way. We should not keep weapons that our military planners do not need. These unneeded weapons are the relics of dead conflicts. And they do nothing to make us more secure."

Governor Bush also called for the United States to "remove as many weapons as possible from high-alert, hair-trigger status—another dangerous vestige of Cold War confrontation. As President, I will ask for an assessment of what we can do to lower the alert status of our forces."

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