- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2002

President Bush yesterday thanked a group of high-technology chief executives for their role in the war on terrorism and predicted technology produced by U.S. companies will help the nation defeat its enemies.
"I want to thank you for contributions to national defense. You probably never dreamt, by the way, the president of the United States would be addressing a high-tech conference thanking you for your contributions to the defense of the United States and the defense of our homeland. But that's the realities of the new world," he said.
Innovations like the Predator unmanned aircraft, a surveillance aircraft made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., in San Diego, have helped the war effort, the president said.
AOL Time Warner Inc. Chairman Steve Case, AT&T; Corp. Chief Executive Officer Michael Armstrong and Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina were among the small group of corporate leaders who stood on the stage at the Old Executive Office Building next to the White House while the president spoke to a group of about 200 technology entrepreneurs.
Mr. Case, the co-founder of Sterling, Va.-based America Online, introduced the president and said high-tech companies welcomed the chance to discuss their role in serving their country by helping to boost the economy and spurring innovation.
"I think it's fair to say that in an increasingly interconnected world, companies have both an obligation and an opportunity to serve their country," he said.
The federal government will spend an estimated $53 billion on information technology and another $37.7 billion on homeland security in fiscal 2003.
"We will continue to use high-tech means and high-tech equipment to chase the killers down one by one and we will win the war because of our resolve and our determination and our love of freedom. But we're also going to win the war thanks to the incredible technology and technological breakthroughs that we've achieved here in America," the president said.
The FBI and CIA are just two federal agencies that will rely on the private sector's technology innovation, he said.
"I can envision a lot of new technologies that enable us to communicate with [public safety workers] and communicate with federal, state and local governments. As you probably have read, we can do a better job of gathering intelligence and sharing intelligence between different agencies of our government," the president said.
High-tech leaders also convened at the White House yesterday to discuss development of high-speed Internet services, or broadband, and the president made brief mention of the administration's interest in promoting its development.
"This country must be aggressive about the expansion of broadband. We have to," he said. "It's time for us to move. Move with an agenda. Hopefully we're doing a pretty good job of working to eliminate hurdles and barriers to get broadband implemented."
There were about 9.6 million subscribers to high-speed Internet services as of June 30, 2001, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
But the president didn't outline a specific broadband policy.
The president also asked business leaders to support expanded trade-promotion authority, reform of the Export Administration Act, the new Department of Homeland Security and elimination of the estate tax.


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