Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Bush, Gore Differ on Military's Role.

Byline: John J. Lumpkin Journal Staff Writer

But Both Promise To Beef Up Support

Al Gore says the military is in good shape. George W. Bush says it isn't. Gore says the U.S. has used it at the right times to advance U.S. interests and to make a better world. Bush says troops have been used too much on obscure missions, weakening their ability to perform their prime function: to make war and defend the homeland.

Regardless of those differences, the two presidential candidates have similar proposals for improving the nation's armed forces over the next decade.

Both presidential candidates propose spending money to improve readiness, to improve the troops' quality of life and to develop new weapons. They both want a lighter, more mobile force. They generally shy away from discussing whether they back particular weapons programs.

A key difference is their relative support for deploying a missile defense system to defend the United States from a small intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, attack. Gore is lukewarm about such proposals; Bush supports deploying an advanced defense system as soon as possible.

But both candidates have made military matters somewhat a priority, so if the winning candidate carries through on his promises, the military will get at least some of the increased support it wants. …

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