Remarks on Receiving the Recommendations of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management

February 28, 1986

The President. Well, good morning, Dave and ladies and gentlemen. And I appreciate you coming over this morning to present your recommendations. And I know you've all worked hard and -- very hard, as a matter of fact -- and I'm glad that your report is bipartisan and unanimous. I've met with Dave over the past few weeks, and he's kept me apprised of your progress. And I'm pleased to say that your work may well be the most comprehensive bipartisan review of the Defense Establishment since World War II. And I plan to review your recommendations in detail, and I will act promptly and firmly to take appropriate implementation actions. And I hope that the Congress will join me and do their part, as well.

And now, Dave, the spotlight is on you.

Chairman Packard. Well, Mr. President, it is a great honor for me to present this report to you that contains our first set of recommendations. And I speak on behalf of all the Commission to say that we've been very honored to have the opportunity to help you and Secretary [of Defense] Weinberger in this very important job of getting the most defense we can from the billions of dollars that are being spent. And we know that you and the Secretary have made a great deal of progress in the past 5 years in moving ahead toward that end. And I want to tell you that this Commission has worked very hard and that every single member of the Commission has made an important contribution in developing these recommendations that we are presenting to you today. And we hope very much that these recommendations will help you and the Secretary continue this important job to improve the strength and the readiness of our Armed Forces so that they can continue to be the bulwark of freedom and peace in this troubled world of ours.

The President. Dave, I thank you very much. And as I said on Wednesday, the Commission's recommendations point the way and -- been looking forward to getting into this -- and I'll implement the recommendations that are in here just as quickly as it can be done, even if they run counter to the will of the entrenched bureaucracies and special interests. And I will also urge Congress to read the Commission's report and to remove those obstacles to good management that the Congress itself has created over the years. And, again, I thank you all for all the work that you've done.


Reporter. Mr. President, how much waste is there in the current system?

The President. Pardon?

Q. How much waste is there in the current system, Mr. President?

The President. There is a lot less waste than there was when we came here. And there will be even less as we go forward, as Mr. Packard has told you, with the recommendations that are in here and that he himself has said follow the pattern of things that have already been started.

Q. Mr. President, there are reports that President Marcos has brought millions of dollars worth of currency and jewelry to Hawaii from the Philippines. Is that appropriate considering the economic problems there?

The President. Again, I think that there's no way for us to know anything about this. This is up to the Government of the Philippines and the people of the Philippines. But I think now we've got to get on with some more meetings.

Q. Should Mrs. Aquino have released the Marxist leader in the Philippines, Mr. President?

The President. Pardon?

Q. Should Mrs. Aquino have released the Marxist leader, the leader of the Marxist movement in the Philippines?

The President. I don't know. I really don't know.

Note: The President spoke at 9:50 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.