Catastrophic defense cuts still loom

January 13, 2012

While President Barack Obama's recently announced defense cuts will spare critical intelligence and cyber warfare capabilities provided by many Maryland companies, all military programs are still threatened by the "sequestration" clause of the debt ceiling deal which would cut $500 billion by slashing across every single Pentagon program.

On the chopping block would be essential military equipment like intelligence satellites that track terrorist activities, fighter jets to provide air support for our troops, and missile defenses to protect us from nuclear ballistic missile attack. With Iran close to building a nuclear weapon and North Korea developing a new mobile ballistic missile capability to launch surprise attacks on the West Coast, now is hardly the time to cut funding for basic missile defenses. It makes even less sense to do so when missile defense has been proven by more than a decade of tests and enjoys wide bipartisan support, from President Obama to House Speaker John Boehner.

There's no question that government needs to cut spending, but the sequestration cuts would lower our guard at the very moment that our enemies are preparing a right hook.

James A. Lyons Jr.

The writer is a retired Navy Admiral and was commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet from September 1985 through September 1987.

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