Lt. Gen. E.G. “Buck” Shuler
The Seattle Times
Your Jan. 11 editorial was right that Pentagon spending deserves scrutiny, but Congress’s plan to blindly cut $1 trillion from the defense budget would dismantle our military and could decimate economies like Seattle’s that are dependent on the aerospace industry. [“Yes, defense cuts too,” Opinion].
Passed last year as part of the debt-ceiling deal, these cuts would shrink the Army, Navy and Air Force back to their smallest sizes in generations, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
The Air Force would find it impossible to replace the aging fighter jets, cargo aircraft and rescue helicopters that have supported American military superiority for decades, many of which are built in the Seattle area. What would happen when the next hurricane leaves thousands waiting to be rescued, or the world looks to us to destroy an Iranian nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile with an airstrike?
Research and development would also evaporate, along with the next-generation aircraft — like the long-range strike bomber — that could maintain our military edge tomorrow.
Local aerospace manufacturers would either move production overseas or shutter their doors, costing tens of thousands of jobs. A macroeconomic analysis conducted by Maryland University on the effect of the defense budget cuts estimated that they could raise unemployment by an entire percentage point.
Congress should focus on cutting government waste, not pulling the rug out from under our economy and our national security.