Richmond Times-Dispatch
Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin

Editor, Times-Dispatch:
Regarding your editorial “Federal Deficit: It’s the spending” about the supercommittee’s failure to reach a deal understated the impact on national security should automatic, across-the-board budget cuts occur: Project defense spending has already been cut $450 billion over the next decade. The fat is gone. Slashing an additional $600 billion would de-fund essential programs.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has warned that sequestration would create a “paper tiger” military. That is largely because nearly half the cuts will come from research modernization investments, according to Panetta. From cruise missiles and drone aircraft to satellite surveillance and stealth helicopters, cutting-edge technologies protect the lives of the brave men and women on our front lines. Slashing defense spending by more than $1 trillion over the next decade will leave the next generation at a disadvantage against adversaries who are becoming more technologically sophisticated.
With Iran and North Korea on the verge of combining long-range ballistic missiles with nuclear weapons, it’s exactly the wrong time to cut this kind of research. America’s missile defenses, supported not only by Republicans but by Democrats such as Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama, represent our only defense against incoming missiles launched by a rogue regime.
Our enemies keep strengthening their weapons; we must keep strengthening our defenses.
Jerry Boykin, Lt. Gen, USA (Ret).