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Public Statements

Fiscal Year 2004 Defense Budget

Location: Washington, DC

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

And gentlemen, let me just say that this senator has great appreciation for the job each of you do, for your great leadership you're providing and for those men and women that serve under you. And to each of you I say thank you for that.

I also have a great appreciation for the job that the administration is doing and the leadership that this administration is providing with respect to winning the war on terrorism.

And thank goodness we have people who are willing to make a tough and hard decision, knowing that they have under them leadership like you and the men and women that serve under you to carry out the jobs assigned to each of them, that will ensure that my children and my grandchildren are going to live in the same safe, free and open America that my generation has enjoyed. So for that, I say thank you. And I hope you'll express that to each of the men and women that serve under you at every opportunity.

General Jumper, you know my fondness for Robins Air Force Base and the great job that the men and women, civilian and military, do there. And I appreciate your comments regarding the 116th. That decision was just a great vision on the part of Secretary Roche, you, and the folks like Paul Weaver over on the Guard side, any number of folks who participated in that. And it's going to be a model for where the future of the armed services are going to go, irrespective of what branch we're looking at. And I am very, very proud of those folks.

GEN. JUMPER: Thank you, sir.

SEN. CHAMBLISS: You know that I've had the opportunity to visit Robins any number of times, particularly recently. And General Shinseki, I will tell you that last week I was at Fort Mack and at Fort Gillem, a couple of weeks ago I was at Fort Stewart, and you men are correct that the quality of the force out there today is second to none. It's well prepared, well trained, and the men and women that are being called on to defend freedom are, in my opinion, the best trained, the best service organization that the world has ever seen. And that's thanks in large part to your leadership.

General Jumper, you know that four weapon systems that I have a keen interest in are C-17, C-130, F-22 and JointSTARS. From a budgetary standpoint, I think the C-17 is moving forward in a very good manner, and a decision on the multi-year several years ago, I think, was one of the best business decisions that any branch has ever made, particularly the Air Force. I'd like for you to give us just a quick budget update on the other three weapon systems, if you will, as is reflected in this current budget.

SEN. CHAMBLISS: Are we going to be able to provide the service to the customer out there with respect to Joint STARS by stopping at 17 instead of going to full complement of 19 and moving on to the 767, where we're going to have that gap? Are you comfortable with that?

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