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Pinckney: Sequestration Hurts Troops and Security

While the economic effect of budget sequestration could be devastating, the risk to our national security is even greater (“Group Paints Grim Picture of Defense Cut Effects,” Feb. 15).

According to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, hacking $500 billion across every defense program would end all major modernization efforts, including new intelligence technologies, combat ships, armored vehicles and fighter jets. Troops desperately need this equipment to meet the drone needs of our special forces and to replace a Navy that is smaller than it was on 9/11, tanks that were designed in 1980 and an Air Force fleet that is older on average than ever.

President Barack Obama’s new defense strategy proposes moving more forces to the Pacific to counter China, keeping constant surveillance on Iran, bolstering defenses against cyber attacks and continuing to pursue terrorist cells. This strategy assumes a smaller fighting force but one that is superbly equipped — which would be impossible under sequestration.

Not only would stripping our military of cutting-edge capabilities frustrate Obama’s defense strategy, it would leave our troops vulnerable to higher casualties by leveling the playing field for our enemies.

If Congress wants to protect our national security and our troops, it should stop budget sequestration.

— Retired Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Pinckney, United States Air Force

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