Rear Adm. Norm Saunders
Stars & Stripes.
Your upbeat report about the Obama administration’s current plans for the Navy (“Official says Navy crucial to future US defense plans,” article, Feb. 3, Europe edition) ignored the far more likely possibility that budget cuts coming under “sequestration” next January will upend those plans before they make it out of dry dock.
By slashing an additional $500 billion to $600 billion from the Pentagon budget, sequestration’s automatic budget ax would eliminate much-needed modernization of combat ships, tactical air power andother platforms the new strategy requires, crippling our ability to projectpower in potential trouble spots in the Pacific and the Persian Gulf. Iran’s recent saber-rattling about the Strait of Hormuz reminds us that our need for a powerful Navy has not diminished.
Sequestration also would ravage research & development budgets — the long-term investments that keep our troops a step ahead of our adversaries (while contributing innovative technologies to oursociety as a side benefit). Cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from thedefense budget would also raise unemployment by an estimated 1.5 million jobs, a full percentage point. That’s enough to squelch the economic recovery.
None of us should rest easy until Congress reverses course and ensures that sequestration won’t occur.