Signs Defense Authorization Act
December 28, 2001
I have today signed into law S. 1438, the "National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2002." The Act authorizes the funding necessary to
defend the United States and its interests around the globe. In particular,
it provides the resources needed to continue the war against global terrorism,
accelerate programs for defense against biological or chemical attacks, pursue
an effective missile defense, properly support members of the Armed Forces and
their families, and begin to transform our Armed Forces to meet the military
requirements of the 21st century.
The Act provides important improvements in the quality of life for the members
of our Armed Forces, who have dedicated their lives to the defense of their
fellow citizens. It provides for a substantial and well-deserved increase in
basic pay, improved educational opportunities as an incentive to reenlist, and
more resources to improve military housing. The legislation also addresses important
needs of military families, such as improved job training and education opportunities
for military spouses and access for home-schooled children of military families
to facilities and programs of Department of Defense dependent schools.
The Act will assist greatly in the rebuilding and reshaping of the Armed Forces
to meet future challenges. In particular, it provides procurement authority
for programs crucial to the projection of American military power in support
of U.S. interests abroad, such as carrier-based strike aircraft, air superiority
fighter aircraft, large-capacity cargo aircraft, and a fast attack submarine.
The Act also authorizes funds to move forward with our program for an effective
defense against ballistic missiles.
The legislation reflects my Administration's important initiative to establish
a process for realignment and closure of unneeded military facilities. Such
realignments and closures will allow the Government to use more effectively
the taxpayer sources devoted to the national defense. As the Act requires, military
value will be the primary consideration in recommending realignments and closures.
Regrettably, the Act defers the start of the base closure and realignment process
for several years, rather than providing for its immediate commencement to permit
efficient restructuring promptly.
Section 1116 of the Act authorizes Federal agency employees to retain and make
personal use of promotional items such as frequent flyer miles, upgrades, or
access to carrier clubs or facilities received as a result of certain official
travel. Agency regulations will ensure that, in connection with imple-mentation
of section 1116, employees fully observe applicable principles of ethics in
Government and regulations that prevent unneeded or inefficient official travel.
The Act contains several provisions intended to improve the ability of members
of the Armed Forces to exercise one of the most important rights that any citizen
has -- the right to vote. Section 1605 of the Act requires State Governors,
in certain circumstances, to provide reports to the Secretary of Defense concerning
the Secretary's recommendations on State voting laws, including what recommendations
the Governor has made or will make to the State legislature on the Secretary's
recommendations. Section 1605 shall be implemented in a manner consistent with
proper regard for the role of the States, and their legislatures and Governors,
in our Federal system.
Several provisions of the Act, including sections 525(c), 546, 705, and 3152
call for executive branch officials to submit to the Congress proposals for
legislation. These provisions shall be implemented in a manner consistent with
the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive
branch and to recommend to the Congress such measures as the President judges
necessary and expedient.
Section 1404 vests in the Secretary of Defense authority to appoint a chief
operating officer for the Armed Forces Retirement Home, but purports to limit
the qualifications of the pool of persons from whom the Secretary may select
the appointee in a manner that rules out a large portion of those persons best
qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office. The Secretary shall
implement section 1404 in a manner consistent with the Appointments Clause of
Under section 1002 of the Act, the Congress has stated that it incorporates
a classified annex into the statute. That annex contains authorizations of appropriations
for specified classified programs. My Administration discourages enactment of
secret law as part of annual defense authorization acts and instead encourages
appropriate use of classified annexes to committee reports and the joint statement
of managers that accompanies the final legislation.