Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Forces in Afghanistan put at risk by budget cuts

As Rep. John P. Sarbanes points out ("In Afghanistan, challenge and doubt," April 25), American forces in Afghanistan are bracing for a new offensive from the Taliban. Unfortunately, some others in Congress are so intent on cutting the deficit that they're targeting funding for critical troop equipment needed by those same troops.

For instance, the House Armed Services Committee voted to cut the Army's Brigade Combat Team Modernization program (BCTM) in half last year, slowing the deployment of a combat-ready wireless network that would let soldiers exchange on-the-ground intelligence via text message, download satellite maps and even send video of wounded GI's to doctors back at the base to get life-saving treatment advice.

Combat veterans that have tested the BCTM network say that our soldiers in Afghanistan could use it immediately to help defeat the insurgents and come home safe. Yet just like when the government delayed the delivery of Kevlar body armor to troops in Iraq, Congress seems bent on halting the BCTM program by slowly cutting its funding.

Smart budget cuts will avoid cutting life-saving equipment for our troops like the BCTM network.

Anthony T. Hawkins, Washington

The writer is national coordinator of the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • The last POW [Editorial]

    The last POW [Editorial]

    Our view: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's return is welcome, but the lack of transparency with which the Obama administration accomplished it is not

  • U.S. should offer sanctuary to Afghanis [Letter]

    One of the most horrific episodes of the Vietnam war was the plight of those South Vietnamese who were loyal to the United States throughout the war. Known as the "boat people," they desperately, and often fatally, tried to escape Communist retaliation after the fall of Saigon.

  • Our insufferable ally in Kabul [Editorial]

    Our insufferable ally in Kabul [Editorial]

    Our view: Despite President Hamid Karzai's erratic behavior, the U.S. has long-term interests in Afghanistan that must be protected

  • Nation's illegal drone war must end [Letter]

    Nation's illegal drone war must end [Letter]

    I could not help note that while reading "NSA tracks location of phones, documents show" (Dec. 5), there was a nearby ad for a cell phone and other electronic devices. Readers should also know that the National Security Agency provides "intelligence" in coordinating killer drone strikes.

  • Bring our troops home now [Letter]

    Bring our troops home now [Letter]

    The only issue that President Obama and I agree on is getting our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. As a Vietnam veteran, I personally witnessed the killing fields of American soldiers when that corrupt government and its citizens did not want us in their country.

  • Let the Afghans fend for themselves [Letter]

    Let the Afghans fend for themselves [Letter]

    According to The Sun, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is balking at signing a security treaty with us ("Afghans baffled by Karzai's refusal to sign deal with U.S." Nov. 26).