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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 © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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