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Addresses to the Nation
Defense establishment reforms—443
Addresses and Remarks
Foreign and domestic issues, remarks and a
New Orleans, LA, informal exchange with
Federal Labor Relations Authority, member—
Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation,
member of the Board of Trustees—446
Development, U.S. Executive Director—472
Deputy Counsel to the President—448
Communications to Congress
Generalized System of Preferences, letter—471
Communications to Congress—Continued
International activities in science and
International labor standards convention,
transmittal of annual report—470
Letters, Messages, Etc.
Cancer Control Month, 1986—446
Statements by the President
Death of Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo of
Contadora negotiations with Nicaragua—449
Nominations submitted to the Senate—479
Published every Monday by the Office of the Federal Register,
The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is pub-
Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents will be furnished
There are no restrictions on the republication of material ap-
Week Ending Friday, April 11, 1986
New Orleans, Louisiana
Informal Exchange With Reporters. March 27, 1986
Q. Mr. President, are you hyping up those stories about troops in Honduras?
The President. What?
Q. Are you hyping up those stories about troops in Honduras?
The President. The White House is giving you the truth, as I think all of us know.
Q. How bad was this invasion? We hear there weren't as many people.
The President. All that I can understand is that we knew there were two battalions. Now, you're talking of rough numbers of a battalion. Maybe those battalions were under strength or over strength, which we don't know on that as to the exact numbers. But there were two battalions which could number around 1,500.
Q. What do you think about going after American targets in Libya? They're talking about going after American targets?
The President. Everyone understands now the exercise is over.
Note: The exchange began at 12:20 p.m. upon the Presidents arrival at New Orleans International Airport. Following the exchange, the President went to the New Orleans Hilton Riverside and Towers to address a fundraiser for Congressman W Henson Moore, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.
The transcript of the exchange was not received by the Office of the Federal Register in time for inclusion in the issue of March 31, 1986.
Defense Establishment Reforms
Radio Address to the Nation. April 5, 1986
My fellow Americans:
I will soon send a message to the Congress asking your Senators and Representa
tives to join me in reforming the Defense Establishment. That includes my office, the Defense Department, the Congress, and industry.
The changes our administration will request are based upon the recommendations made in February by the Packard commission, a bipartisan group that spent months studying ways to give our nation stronger defenses more economically.
Earlier this week I ordered implementation of those recommendations that can be made without congressional action. Now, with congressional support, we'll be able to put into effect perhaps the most thoroughgoing reform of our Defense Establishment since 1958. This new effort takes place against a background of national defenses that have already grown much stronger.
When we first took office, we inherited a navy that had shrunk from nearly 1,000 ships to less than 500 and planes that couldn't fly for want of spare parts. My predecessor had called attention to this and had proposed a 5-year expansion of the defense budget. Well, now our rebuilding program has added ships to the fleet, put planes back in the air, and, perhaps most important, boosted the morale of our men and women in uniform by giving them the training and pay they deserve.
Much still needs to be done, but today the United States has substantially reestablished the strength and self-confidence it needs to perform its role as the leader of the free world.
As we rebuild our strength, we've made strides in marshaling the defense resources of the Nation with increased efficiency. Before we came into office, the costs of major systems had been escalating at an annual rate of 14 percent. With lower inflation, Defense Secretary Weinberger got that crazy spiral under control. Indeed, for the last 2 years cost increases have fallen to less than 1 percent. That's lower than the rate of inflation.
This one achievement alone has saved billions of dollars. Yet, despite these successes, Secretary Weinberger and I knew at the beginning of our second term that still more needed to be done. So, last summer I appointed a bipartisan commission to study the management of our defenses. To chair the commission I chose Dave Packard, an entrepreneur who started a company that had become one of our country's leaders in high technology, famous the world over for its management techniques and efficiency.
He was joined by 16 outstanding Americans, Republicans and Democrats, who represent the best of the business, defense, and academic communities.
In February the Packard commission submitted its recommendations. Now the time has come to put them into effect. Some recommendations can be acted upon without congressional approval, and under Secretary Weinberger's leadership this is taking place.
This week I signed a directive that will enhance coordination between the two sides of the Pentagon budget process: the one that says what we need and the one that says what we can afford. In addition, the Pentagon is streamlining its large procurement structure, and it will begin to give experienced managers more leeway for using their own good judgment in the purchasing process. But certain steps that would make the Department of Defense even more shipshape can take place only with congressional approval.
You know, it's as if the Pentagon can swab the decks on its own, but only the Congress can grant permission to polish the brasswork. Well, it's to get this permission that I'm sending my message to Capitol Hill.
The Packard commission report urges the Congress to make a number of improvements in the way it deals with defense. The commission suggests, for example, that the Congress move from a 1-year, to a 2-year budget cycle. It also urges the Congress to better focus its consideration of defense matters.
Today there are some 40 congressional committees and subcommittees, each of which has some jurisdiction over defense. And the Packard commission points out that many of these committees duplicate each other's efforts.
And friends, we can all agree with the Packard commission: There must be a better, more efficient way. Other recommendations that Congress must approve include moving from year-to-year to multiyear procurements of weapon systems in order to make the acquisition process more stable; the rewriting of procurement laws to eliminate redtape; and the budgeting of major programs according to milestones within the programs themselves, not the dictates of the calendar year.
In the coming weeks the Congress will have before it proposals that would both strengthen our defenses and make the Department of Defense, itself, more completely the servant of the American people. The Packard commission has made its recommendations; now it's time for the administration and the Congress to act upon them.
Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.
Note: The President spoke at 9:06 a. m. from Rancho del Cielo, his ranch near Santa Barbara, CA.
Statement by the Principal Deputy Press Secretary to the President. April 5, 1986
First of all, the President is deeply concerned about the increasing number of terrorist incidents that are affecting Americans in Europe and worldwide. He has instructed his top administration officials to stay on top of it, to provide him with an early assessment of the latest outbreak this week and to—I think that's about all we ought to say. Certainly the President expresses his condolences to the families, and he wants to see that we do everything possible first to apprehend and prosecute those who are responsible specifically and those who perpetrate these types of incidents.
The second thing he wants to do is to take every measure in concert with the allies in order to prevent terrorist incidents. He believes that it is a worldwide problem and that every nation has a stake in this and