George W. Bush photo

Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Donald H. Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense

January 26, 2001

It's a great honor to welcome Secretary Rumsfeld and his wife and family here to the Oval Office. Thank you all for coming.

In swearing in Don Rumsfeld, we have just sworn in a leader of exceptional strength and ability and vision. And I'm grateful that he has returned to service to our country.

Don and I have set three clear goals to guide American defense policy:

First, we will strengthen the bond of trust between the American people and those who wear our Nation's uniform. We'll give them the tools they need and the respect they deserve.

Second, we will work to defend our people and our allies against growing threats, the threats of missiles, information warfare, the threats of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. We will confront the new threats of a new century.

Third, we will begin creating the military of the future, one that takes full advantage of revolutionary new technologies. We will promote the peace by redefining the way wars will be fought.

These are great and exciting objectives, and our new Secretary of Defense is uniquely qualified to accomplish them. As a former Navy pilot, Don Rumsfeld understands that if we ever send our forces into harm's way, we must send them fully prepared and equipped for the dangers they face. As a highly successful businessman, he understands that we must modernize and transform the business of defense, getting the value for our taxpayers' money. He is willing to challenge the status quo inside the Pentagon.

As the head of the National Commission on Ballistic Missile Threats, he is the among the country's most informed experts on this vital issue. As a former Congressman, he understands the need to work closely with the Congress. As a former White House Chief of Staff, as a former Secretary of Defense, he understands what it takes to be a leader.

This is an exceptional history of service, and Don Rumsfeld is an exceptional man with integrity and honesty as a cornerstone of his foundation.

Mr. Secretary, congratulations.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:23 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of Secretary Rumsfeld. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Secretary Rumsfeld.

George W. Bush, Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Donald H. Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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