Stevens to meet with Bush in Texas; military in the Pacific

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Sen. Ted Stevens will be joining a bipartisan group of seven lawmakers for a meeting with President-elect George W. Bush next week.

The meeting is set for Monday at Austin, Texas, and the agenda will be centered around national defense issues.

''... We're going to talk about the deployment of forces in the Pacific,'' Stevens said. ''And Sen. (Daniel) Inouye (D-Hawaii) and I are going to sort of present our case that the Pacific is normally overlooked in terms of defense strategy.

''... Six of the seven largest armies in the world are in the Pacific. The threat to the world is in the Pacific, and I do not think it ought to be taken lightly in the future.''

Stevens said his topic list also will include plans for a national antiballistic missile defense shield, portions of which would be installed in Alaska. Stevens already has talked missile defense with Defense Secretary nominee Don Rumsfeld.

The Alaska Republican believes the Bush administration will follow through with Clinton adminstration plans to base at least an intermediate missile interceptor system in the state's Interior and the Aleutians.

''I think we're going to see, really, a broad-scale review now of what this administration has done,'' Stevens said. ''I expect it to be validated as far as the system that affects Alaska.''

From Texas, Stevens and Inouye will head for Hawaii to visit members of the Pacific Command.

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