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Remarks Announcing the Nomination of Admiral Bobby R. Inman To Be Secretary of Defense

December 16, 1993

Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday I announced that Secretary Aspin would be stepping down as Secretary of Defense next month after a year of devoted service. I want to stress again how deeply grateful I am on behalf of all Americans for his hard work and his many unique contributions to the Pentagon and to our national defense.

To ensure the greatest possible continuity, I wanted to announce a successor as soon as possible. So today, I am very pleased to announce my intent to nominate Admiral Bob Inman as the next Secretary of Defense.

Admiral Inman was one of our Nation's highest ranking and most respected military officers. He was a four-star admiral whose career in the Navy and in our intelligence community and in private business has won him praise from both Democrats and Republicans who admire his intellect, his integrity, and his leadership ability.

The Admiral's experience in serving our Nation is truly impressive. He personally briefed Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. He held senior positions under Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush. Former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger called Admiral Inman "a national asset." And I know he will be a national asset as Secretary of Defense.

He brings to this job the kind of character all Americans respect. The son of a gas station owner in a small east Texas town, he rose to distinction and success on the basis of his brains, his talent, and his hard work. He finished high school at 15, graduated from college at 19, joined the Naval Reserve at 20, and then launched an impressive 31-year career in the Navy. He served on an aircraft carrier, two cruisers, and a destroyer as well as on onshore assignments as an analyst for naval intelligence. In 1976, at the age of 45, he became the youngest vice admiral in peacetime history. Bob Inman's stellar intelligence work caught the attention of many military and civilian leaders and prompted his elevation to several high posts in the intelligence community. He served as Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Director of the National Security Agency, and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Because of his outstanding service, he was awarded the National Security Medal by President Carter.

Over the past decade since Admiral Inman left Government, he served in a wide range of private sector positions, including CEO of two private sector electronics firms, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and a teacher at his alma mater, the University of Texas. He's also served on 11 not-for-profit corporate boards. And in all these roles, Admiral Inman has established a reputation for penetrating analysis, strong leadership, and a rock-solid commitment to this Nation's security. Those qualities will serve our Nation well as the Admiral becomes our next Secretary of Defense.

This is a time of great change in our world. We must build on the work Les Aspin began with a bottom-up review to ensure that we have the right forces and strategy for this new era. We must ensure that, even as we reduce force levels, our military remains ready to fight and win on a moment's notice. We must ensure that our men and women in uniform remain the best trained, the best equipped, the best prepared fighting force on Earth. And we must maintain and build strong bipartisan support in the Congress and in the country for the foreign policy and national defense interests of our Nation.

I am confident that Admiral Inman is the right leader to meet these demanding challenges. I am grateful that he's agreed to make the personal sacrifices necessary to return to full-time Government service and to accept this important assignment at this pivotal time in world events. I'm delighted that he will be joining our national security team, and I thank him for his service to the Nation.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:33 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Announcing the Nomination of Admiral Bobby R. Inman To Be Secretary of Defense Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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