Cohen Talks Up the Military With Techies

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SEATTLE: The Internet was supposed to make the world an ultra-connected utopia -- but it hasn't happened yet. Which is why Pentagon chief William Cohen was in Seattle on Thursday to give a speech to the techies at Microsoft -- and remind them that America's status as the land of opportunity (and software millionaires) still has plenty to do with its status as the world's military superpower. "He's going to sell it like house insurance," says TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson: "'While you guys are here creating all this money, we're making sure you can do it in safety -- that's what you're paying for, and as a percentage of the budget the military's share is lower than ever.'"

With Bill Clinton doing Reagan impressions and the Republicans egging him on, the nation's military budget -- which has more than its share of pork -- isn't a bone of contention in Washington. But Thompson says Cohen doesn't want Americans' disgust with Congress to cross over to his shop. "This is just something he feels is important -- to try to sell the need for a strong military to young, tech-savvy people who maybe take it for granted." Don't be surprised if Cohen passes out a few recruiting pamphlets while he's in town.