By Rear Adm. James J. Carey
Richmond Times-Dispatch 

In his recent Commentary column, “America needs a strong deterrent strategy,” retired Brig. Gen. Joel McKean gave great insight into the importance of a strong military deterrent against Iranian and North Korean nuclear missiles, but he didn’t address a crucial issue: sequestration. The congressional super-committee triggered $600 billion in spending cuts on top of the Pentagon’s $487 billion reduction. These drastic decreases in our military budget could effectively destroy the deterrent.

These proposed budget cuts — while devastating of their own accord — pose an even greater threat to deterrence as their application will be made without any strategic guidance from military leaders. That could devastate missile defense funding as well as programs to replace aging fighter jets, helicopters, intelligence drones and combat ships –– precisely the defenses and weapons we need to deal with a nuclear Iran. While the U.S. uses equipment created during the Cold War, China builds new stealth fighter jets, and North Korea a ballistic missile platform. We should be modernizing our military; not hollowing it out.

McKean was right, we need a strong deterrent against foreign threats but that won’t happen if Congress continues to cut back our military.