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General: Supercommittee failure puts national security at risk

Pundits can argue about the political fallout of the supercommittee failure, but the damage to our national security is indisputable and severe. According to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the resulting defense cuts will hollow out America's military, slashing fighters, bombers, helicopters, submarines and coastal ships; devastating training and readiness; and cutting the satellites and drones that deliver our surveillance/reconnaissance advantage.

After years of cuts, our military already runs lean — down to just 16 percent of federal spending (it was over 40 percent in the 1970s) with investment in research and upgraded equipment just a quarter of that. Our aerospace and defense manufacturing base is the envy of the world, but the supercommittee cuts would gut this industrial asset, putting more than a million Americans out of work and squandering intellectual firepower built up for decades.

One of the main requirements stated in the preamble to the Constitution of the United States is to provide for the common defense of our country. This will be hard to do with our military budget being so drastically cut. While we are cutting our military budget, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria and Venezuela are increasing theirs. The more we cut the more aggressive they will be. Congress should think twice before defunding our military.

Brig. General Stephen C. Boone, Raleigh, N.C.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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