THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 16, 1993
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND ADMIRAL BOB INMAN
IN ANNOUNCEMENT OF ADMIRAL INMAN'S APPOINTMENT
AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
The Rose Garden
1:33 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: 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
announced 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
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
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 non-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
ADMIRAL INMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. You do me
great honor with this appointment. Notwithstanding all the wonderful
things you said, I am an imperfect human being who has been provided
many wonderful opportunities, none quite yet of the status of this.
I've not done all of them as well as I would like, but I've always
worked hard at them, and I will work hard at this one.
As you know, I did not seek the job. In honesty, I did
not want the job. Ultimately, you would ask, then, why am I here?
Duty and country. I was persuaded from our lengthy conversations of
the President's absolute commitment to build a strong bipartisan
support for where this country needs to go in the years out ahead. I
would tell you up front, honestly, I did not vote for President
Clinton, I voted for President Bush, even though I was mad at him
about his handling of the economy, but because I considered him a
personal friend. The President did know that when he asked me to
take this job.
I look forward to the challenges that are in front of
us. I particularly look forward to working with the senior members
of the national security team. Warren Christopher I consider an old
friend and someone I enjoy working with, but I greatly admire. Tony
Lake is a new acquaintance to me, but in these very few short days,
it's been a great start.
But ultimately, the key to my being willing to do this,
to give up a very happy and prosperous life, was the President's
commitment and our interaction. I had to be comfortable that he was
persuaded I was the right choice for this time frame.
And, Mr. President, as you know, I had to reach a level
of comfort that we could work together, that I would be very
comfortable in your role as the Commander in Chief -- President --
while I was Secretary of Defense. And I have found that level of
As I look at the challenges in front of us the road
ahead is already pretty well mapped. I've had the privilege of
knowing Les Aspin for more than 15 years. He is truly one of the
great intellects in this country. From the first meeting, he's
always been challenging what was the best approach to national
security for this country. I'm persuaded that the work he's done
over these last 11 months will make it vastly easier for his
successor, but it won't be an easy job.
As I try to describe myself, I'm an operator, hopefully
with a strategic view. I would hope in the years ahead to focus on
an area that may surprise you -- I've noted the media coverage this
morning has focused almost entirely on my intelligence background.
In these last 10 years I've learned a lot about how business works,
and I would hope to spend a lot of my time on bringing best business
practices to the Department of Defense.
My sense in traveling the country is that the public is
less concerned about what we're doing overseas or our commitments
than whether we are getting a dollar value for a dollar spent in
defense. And I would hope at the end of our years working together,
we will have persuaded them, Mr. President, that they are. And I
would hope to ensure that we practice standards of ethics and
integrity in the Department of Defense that will be a beacon for the
rest of government.
Finally, to my many friends in the media, both here and
around the country, there have been at my last count some 82 calls
last night and this morning for interviews. If we are going to build
a bipartisan support for national security, it has to begin with
establishing the best relationship with the Congress. I will be
deeply respectful of the Senate's approach to the confirmation
process. I believe, therefore, it will be wisest if I limit my
public remarks on issues until the confirmation process is through,
and then I will try to be as available to all of you in the future as
I have been in the past.
Thank you very much. And thank you, Mr. President, for
END1:41 P.M. EST
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list