In a speech to cadets at the Citadel, the state military college, President Bush called for sweeping improvements in intelligence-gathering and military readiness to combat terror, calling that campaign "the military and moral necessity of our time."
Mr. Bush returned to the site of a speech he gave in September 1999. In that speech, he had warned against the threat of terror, among other things.
On the three-month anniversary of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings that killed more than 3,000 people, he said the attacks had shattered America's "illusion of immunity."
"We will fight terror and those who sponsor it to save our children from a future of fear," Mr. Bush said.
He said he detected a political shift taking shape around the globe as nations joined the United States to fight terrorism.
"The vast majority of countries are now on the same side of a moral and ideological divide," he said.
"Staring across this divide are bands of murderers supported by outlaw regimes," Mr. Bush said.
Such people hate "progress and freedom and change and culture and music and laughter and women and Christians and Jews and all Muslims who reject their distorted doctrines. They love only one thing, they love power, and when they have it they use it without mercy."
As Congress debates defense spending in coming days, Mr. Bush also warned against lawmakers "micromanaging the Defense Department."
The president said new weapons will carry the day against terrorism. He cited as an example, the unmanned sp plane which can fly at high altitudes and carry missiles.
Pointing to the battle still raging in Afghanistan, Mr. Bush said special forces units there have achieved dramatic success using smart weapons, brought to bear on targets using instant satellite communications.
At the same time, he said it's crucial that weapons of mass destruction be kept out of terrorists' hands. He called for new anti-proliferation efforts and promised a "devastating" response for any group or state using such arms.
Mr. Bush also gave an impassioned call for the shield he envisions against nuclear missiles, saying the terrorist attacks made it more essential than ever.
"We must protect America and our friends against all forms of terrorism including the terrorism that could arrive on a missile," Mr. Bush said.
©MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report