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Defense cuts endanger our national security

BY GUEST OPINION | FEBRUARY 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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The 2013 Defense Department budget cuts military spending by $487 billion over 10 years, which translates into eliminating six Air Force fighter squadrons, cutting 16 ships from the Navy, and reducing the Army and Marine Corps by 80,000 to 100,000 troops over five years. Our thinking is that future wars will be fought with more high technology weapons and fewer troops. The problem is, we could lose highly qualified military personnel because of the cutbacks.

The end result could mean we will have a plethora of high-technology weapon systems available but lack the quantity and quality of non-commissioned and commissioned military leaders to employ the equipment.

Another $600 billion in defense-cuts could be enacted if Congress does not act to change current laws.

Unfortunately, our military strategy might be faulty. Let's look at a few countries who could be potential adversaries.

China has a multimillion-man army and a large air force. It is upgrading its missile systems and developing anti-ship missiles that could threaten U.S. naval forces. It is in the process of deploying two aircraft carriers and building up its submarine fleet. China seems to want to dominate Southeast Asia and annex Taiwan. It is a close ally of North Korea.

North Korea has a million-man army and continues to expand its missile capabilities. It poses a threat to South Korea and maintains a goal of uniting Korea under its domain. It has nuclear weapons and continues to sell nuclear and missile technology to a number of countries, including Iran.

Iran threatens the Middle East with an aggressive attitude and the potential development of nuclear weapons. It has missile systems capable of hitting targets in Arab countries, Israel, and Western Europe. Iran has acquired some submarines and is building up its navy. It has a close relationship with Venezuela and might want to establish a naval base in that country.

Venezuela threatens South American and Central American countries. President Hugo Chávez is friendly with Castro of Cuba and has developed a military relationship with Russia. He has purchased a significant quantity of arms from Russia and has allowed Russian warships to use Venezuelan port facilities.

Russia still acts like a communist country and could still threaten world peace. It vocally supports Iran's nuclear program, and it is upgrading its land-military forces with the latest weaponry and is refurbishing its navy.

Another concern for the United States is the potential rise of radical Islamists in a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. As the totalitarian governments in the region fail, they could be replaced with Islamic forces who might implement Sharia law and who could be antagonistic and possibly adversarial to the United States.

The weakening of the U.S. military with the proposed budget cuts could embolden potential adversaries to expand militarily in their respective regions. We need to maintain a strong military posture to protect our national security and promote peace in the world by deterring potential adversaries from launching military adventures.

Donald A. Moskowitz is a former PO2 and lieutenant of the U.S. Navy. He resides in Londonberry, N.H.


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