Bush Signs Record Defense Bill

President Bush (searchsigned a $417.5 billion wartime defense bill Thursday providing an additional $25 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, body armor for troops and reinforced Humvee vehicles.

"With this legislation America's military will know that their country stands behind them as they fight for our freedom and as they spread the peace," Bush said.

"No enemy or friend can doubt that America has the resources to prevail," he said. "And we will."

Overwhelmingly approved by a Congress eager to show election-year support for the military, the measure includes money for 39 more Army Black Hawk (search) helicopters, a Virginia-class attack submarine, three guided-missile destroyers and a 3.5 percent pay increase for troops. "This money is well-earned, well-deserved and well-spent," he said of the pay increase.

With national security the top issue in his re-election campaign, Bush came off the political trail for the bill-signing ceremony with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (search) and members of Congress. With the ink on the measure barely dry, Bush was returning to the campaign trail for his 20th trip as president to Ohio.

Bush had originally insisted that no extra funds would be needed for Iraq (search) and Afghanistan (searchuntil after the elections but under pressure from Congress, he requested $25 billion. He said the two countries were "the front lines in the war on terror."

It has nearly $78 billion for weapons purchases, $3 billion more than Bush requested. Included is more money for Air Force unmanned Predator (search) aerial attack vehicles, Stryker (search) combat vehicles for the Army and a DD(X) destroyer.

There is $10 billion for continued work on a national missile defense system. And there is $100 million for the Air Force to modernize its fleet of midair refueling tankers -- though House language was dropped requiring 80 of the craft to be purchased from the ailing Boeing Co. (search)

"This bill will help make America a safer place," Bush said.