Good morning. This past week I have been making the case for tax reductions. I've asked Congress to act quickly on my tax relief plan, so that Americans can face these uncertain economic times with more of their own money. I will continue to make that case until relief has passed.
And next week I will also focus on another important issue, our national security. This is the most basic commitment of America's Government and the greatest responsibility of an American President. Our Nation's ideals inspire the world, but our Nation's ships and planes and armies must defend these ideals and sustain our allies and friends.
American influence is unquestioned, but maintaining it requires work in every generation. The relative peace our Nation enjoys today is not inevitable. Peace is earned by strength, and strength begins with the men and women who wear the uniform. New weapons and technologies are important, but they are only as effective as the people who use them.
On Monday I will travel to Fort Stewart, in Georgia, to meet with soldiers and their families. I want to thank them for their service and give my full support in return. They deserve the best training, the latest and best equipment, and long overdue improvements in their pay, housing, and standard of living. And so, as I promised, I will announce meaningful increases in funding to improve the lives of our men and women in uniform.
There's an old military saying: Soldiers enlist, but families reenlist. We need to treat families well and encourage military careers. All our men and women in uniform, after all, are volunteers. We must make sure our military is a place where Americans are proud to serve and proud to stay.
On Tuesday I will be in Norfolk, Virginia, for a tour of the Joint Forces Command and a glimpse of the next generation of military weapons. America has some big choices to make as we prepare for the challenges and dangers of modern warfare. Battles will no longer be won by size alone; stealth and speed will matter more. And we must make sure our country, itself, is protected from attack from ballistic missiles and high-tech terrorists.
At week's end I will meet in Washington with Secretary of State Colin Powell and our diplomats at the State Department. I selected General Powell for that post, in part, because he brings a soldier's wisdom to the work of diplomacy. His charge is to help me pursue a clear, consistent, and decisive foreign policy. Whenever America acts in the world, our principles must be certain, our intentions beyond doubt, our strength beyond challenge. This is how conflicts are avoided. This is how problems are dealt with before they become crises.
Next week's trips signal the priority I place on our military. The highest honor and greatest duty of this office is to serve as Commander in Chief. I want every man and woman in the Armed Forces to know that I respect your service and appreciate your sacrifice.
Thank you for listening.