9:30 AM EST, February 18, 2013
One of the reasons Congress seems reluctant to stop budget sequestration ("The sequester stand-off," Feb. 7) is that few realize the real consequences of indiscriminately slashing spending in blind, indiscriminate fashion –– particularly for our national security.
Under sequestration, the defense budget alone would weather $500 billion in cuts across every program, affecting fundamental military capabilities. The cuts will sideline our aircraft carriers and force other ships from service, weakening us in the Pacific while also freeing Iran to shut down the Strait of Hormuz at will. We'll be forced to slash training for our troops, meaning they won't be ready to respond to the next crisis.
The cuts would even sap energy from small programs like homeland missile defense that nevertheless provides our only protection against ballistic missile attack. The system has won over leaders of both parties –– including President Barack Obama –– through a decade of testing. As North Korea tests ballistic missiles capable of hitting U.S. cities, we need this capability now more than ever. Yet sequestration would slow improvements and could leave us vulnerable.
Congress could certainly find savings by cutting unnecessary military programs like bands or air shows, but it should leave our essential defenses alone. There are smart ways to cut the budget, and then there's sequestration.
Stephen Paul Campos, Glendale, Ariz.
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