Public Papers

Remarks Announcing the Nomination of General Colin L. Powell To Be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


The President. Ladies and gentlemen, I am most pleased to introduce the man that I have selected to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: General Colin L. Powell. Colin Powell has had a truly distinguished military career, and he's a complete soldier. He served two tours in Vietnam and has had many important assignments around the world, including commander of the Fifth Corps in Germany and, most recently, as commander of all Army forces stationed in the United States. He is also a distinguished scholar, with a postgraduate degree, diplomas from our major war colleges, and a unique tour as a White House fellow.

The position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has always been a special and important one. Our Chairman today has unique responsibilities. He has a significant role in determining our military requirements and developing the defense budget. He is the principal adviser on all military issues to the Secretary of Defense and to the President. And Bill Crowe has performed these duties in an absolutely splendid way, and we can be most thankful that we have had his special leadership during the past 4 years. Bill, words can never fully acknowledge what you have done for your country, and thank you very, very much for that.

As we face the challenges of the nineties, it is most important that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff be a person of breadth, judgment, experience, and total integrity. Colin Powell has all those qualities and more. His wealth of military experience, coupled with his most distinguished assignments, including Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, have prepared him for this challenging and demanding role. He will bring leadership, insight, and wisdom to our efforts to keep our military strong and ready, prepared to defend our security and to safeguard the peace. Colin Powell will be a key member of my national security team, a team of close-knit, experienced professionals. And I am very proud of this team and proud to add Colin Powell to it.

Colin, welcome, sir.

General Powell. Thank you, Mr. President, for your very kind words, and thank you, sir, for this new opportunity to serve you, to serve the men and women of the Armed Forces, and to serve our nation. I'm very pleased to be joining your national security team; and I look forward to working with you, the Vice President, and all the members of the team, as you face the historic opportunities and challenges that are before us. I also feel it a special privilege to be the spokesman for all the millions of great young men and women who are serving their nation voluntarily in uniform.

I also feel especially privileged and somewhat humble to be following a man like Admiral Bill Crowe, a distinguished sailor, great friend, and an outstanding Chairman. They are big shoes to fit into. I will give it my very best. The Nation owes Bill Crowe a great debt of gratitude. And Mr. President, I am ready to go to it, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. Thank you, sir.

Note: The President spoke at 2:32 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.