Brigadier General William A. Bloomer
Sir, Now they have had a chance to study the issue, Democrats and Republicans alike can see that cutting another trillion dollars from defence would devastate the United States military strength, ending virtually all new research and modernisation programmes, eliminating scores of fighters, bombers, satellites, and drones, and even cutting out the intercontinental ballistic missiles leg of our nuclear deterrent triad.
Leon Panetta, secretary of defence, says these cuts would compel a new defence strategy – one that simply accepts “significant operational risks” to our troops. Most representatives did not sign on for that last summer.
The fat has long been cut from defence after nearly $500bn in cancelled programmes and efficiency savings under Mr Panetta’s predecessor, Robert Gates.
A decade of combat has stretched our military to its limit, demanding more investment and restoration, not another round of massive cuts.
The budget is already at a historic low, just 16 per cent of federal spending (down from 40 per cent during Vietnam) with research and modernisation slashed to 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product. Any deal made under duress can be voided; Washington is right to give the defence sequestration another, more critical, look.
William A. Bloomer
Brigadier General, USMC (Ret)
Wichita, KS, US