The Free Lance-Star
Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin

The damage from the supercommittee’s failure will likely be even greater than Bill Freehling suggests [” Congress’ Failure May Mean Pain For Region’S Economy,” Nov. 27].

The triggered defense cuts are expected to hit Virginia especially hard, costing over 120,000 jobs (only massive California will lose more).

These losses–most of them well-paying engineering and manufacturing positions–will ripple through the entire economy, from the office parks outside D.C. to the shipyards of our Southern ports.

The resulting military would be the smallest and most poorly equipped since World War II. Most new procurement programs–from fighter jets to submarines to satellites to drones–would be ended or slashed.

America’s missile defenses–our only real protection against undeterrable madmen like Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad–could age and languish, like scores of other systems up and down our military forces.

The fat has already been cut from defense–it’s down to just 16 percent of federal spending, less than half of what we spent during Vietnam, and research modernization is only 1.3 percent of GDP.

President Obama has already said he won’t agree to undo these cuts. Congress can avoid this calamity only by developing a better way to reduce the debt, one that doesn’t weaken our national or economic security.

Jerry Boykin

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin is former U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and former commanding general of both the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and Special Forces Command, Airborne.