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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Make smart Pentagon cuts

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The military planned to cut strategically when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were over. It did not, however, plan for the automatic sequestration budget cuts that are now furloughing National Guard and Reserve forces, grounding our combat aircraft and keeping aircraft carriers in port ("Army lays out plans to remove 80,000 soldiers; base communities brace for impacts," Web, June 25). Moreover, these across-the-board cuts are hurting veterans — slashing their job-training programs and reducing their access to homeless shelters and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

If Congress truly wanted to get tough on military spending it would implement strategic cuts that target the real culprits of Pentagon waste. That means cutting programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which nearly every defense expert has singled out as one of the most poorly managed defense programs in history. As defense experts have pointed out, the JSF underperforms compared with today's fighter jets in nearly every mission. Unluckily for us, it is also the most expensive defense program in history, weighing in at $1.5 trillion. I'm a pilot, and as much as I like flying new aircraft, I'd rather fly a better one with a few more miles on the odometer.

We can't sequester ourselves to fiscal responsibility. Congress needs to take the reins and make smart cuts to our budget.

CAPT. BOB RIDDER

U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)

Memphis, Tenn.

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