Speaking before a Veterans of Foreign Wars gathering in Detroit, Mich., Bush called for a modern military ready to meet the demands of the information age. The Texas governor was joined by retired generals Colin Powell and H. Norman Schwarzkopf.
Bush said a strong military requires high morale, and vowed to work with lawmakers to boost salaries for troops and ensure better housing.
Bush has focused heavily on his defense proposals this week, speaking to the 82nd American Legion Convention in Milwaukee, Wis. Wednesday, and repeating his theme Thursday in Michigan and Ohio of transforming the military from a Cold War crusader into a high-tech force capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century.
Last year, President Clinton signed a 4.8 percent military pay increase for 2000. Next year, service members will receive a 3.7 raise.
Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore has said he will invest in pilot programs and continue the Clinton administration's effort to increase and expand housing for military personnel and their families.