Rear Adm James J. Carey
Ventura County Star
As we near the end of the war in Afghanistan, we are reminded of the terrible costs of war, and the importance of avoiding them whenever possible. Yet, the drastic defense budget cuts triggered by the debt-ceiling deal could actually make it more likely that we’ll be drawn into more ground wars in the future with even higher casualties.
By mandating an unprecedented $500 billion reduction across every defense program, the debt ceiling deal cuts would cancel plans to modernize our fleet of fighter jets, bombers and combat ships, and to upgrade our intelligence satellites and drones and develop military innovations that also double as breakthrough commercial products –– like microwaves or GPS. According to economists, the cuts also could put 1.5 million Americans out of work.
If we can’t control the airspace, gather better intelligence and direct quick airstrikes against enemy fire, more foes could be tempted test our capabilities and resolve. Our troops could be exposed to higher casualties like they haven’t been since the 1950s.
While Washington needs to take its medicine and trim spending, these defense cuts are poison pills for our national security and our economy. Congress should take a cue from medical ethics: first, do no harm.