Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today released the following statement:
"The President's choice to defer a deployment decision on a National Missile Defense system to his successor involved many factors. Central for me, as I have stated publicly, is the importance of sustaining a solid national consensus not only on the need for an NMD system but on the scope and structure of such a system.
"The President's statement today underscores the importance of having the next President fully involved in decisions regarding the future of the program before committing the U.S. to a deployment strategy. I support this approach.
"I have noted on many occasions that several emerging threats warrant the deployment of an effective missile defense program as soon as technologically feasible and I will work closely with my successor on providing all appropriate information. In the meantime, we will aggressively proceed with the developmental testing program and also continue our consultations with the Congress, our allies, and with Russia."