It’s bad for politics to drive military budget choices (“Defense needs, not politics, should guide military cuts,” Editorial, June 5), but it’s even worse if nothing drives them at all. Yet that’s what’s coming in January — $500 billion in mindless, mechanical “sequestration” that would slice into every program, facility, and operation of our armed forces, no matter how vital or irreplaceable.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff say these cuts will erode our defense capabilities and make it impossible to carry out current missions or restore our forces after years of combat overseas. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls it a “goofy meat ax” that would put our troops at risk. Virtually all new weapons programs would be shuttered, from fighter jets to satellites to drones. Across-the-board sequestration bars the Defense Department from prioritizing the cuts or matching them to military requirements in any rational way.
The harm to US workers also could not be managed or contained. Experts say that across-the-board reductions would destroy more than a million private sector jobs, plus thousands more as troops and Defense Department civilians are cut loose.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts the cuts would help cause another recession if they aren’t repealed this year. The first step in making smart, tough decisions on the budget is replacing this foolish sequestration with a sound, responsible approach to cuts.
The writer a retired colonel in the Air Force.