By Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Higginbotham, USMC (Ret.)

The Fayetteville Observer


Cutting Fort Bragg construction in half is bad enough for national security and North Carolina’s economy (“Defense budget calls for $200 million in construction projects at Fort Bragg,” Feb. 14). But it’s nothing compared to the damage another $500 billion in budget “sequestration” cuts would do if they’re allowed to take effect next year.

Sequestration – chopping a mechanical 23 percent from every function of our military (including bases) – would hit critical functions, such as satellites and Special Operations, as much as lesser priorities such as marching bands and office supplies. The defense strategy the Department of Defense rolled out just weeks ago would be a dead letter: “out the window,” in Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s words.

Weapons upgrades would bear the brunt of these cuts, up to 40 percent by most estimates, and delaying or canceling replacements for 60-year-old bombers and 30-year-old fighter jets. High-tech research, which drives our battlefield dominance and then spins off valuable civilian innovations, would be cut – shuttering Research Triangle labs today and weakening our military and economy tomorrow. Economists say these cuts would put 1 million Americans out of work; 11,000 in North Carolina alone.

“An older, creakier military” is how one analyst described the result – dangerous and irresponsible are some other words that come to mind.