- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As outgoing Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates noted, commencing talks with the Taliban is the beginning of a long process by which the United States can start to end the Afghanistan war (“Gates confirms talks with Taliban,” Page 1, Monday). Yet Congress still could sabotage that process by slashing the budget for essential military equipment, which would repeat the tragic body-armor scandal of the war in Iraq.

At risk are critical modernization programs such as Brigade Combat Team Modernization (BCTM), an Army effort that would provide U.S. troops in Afghanistan with a combat-ready wireless network capable of instantly sharing intelligence about roadside bombs and insurgent ambushes among all coalition troops.

Today’s technology forces troops from different coalition countries to shuttle intelligence slowly through higher chains of command. Combat veterans testing the new BCTM technology say that sharing critical intelligence faster will save lives and make troops more effective.

If Congress wants to end the war in Afghanistan and protect our troops, it will fully fund new communications technologies like the BCTM network.

ANTHONY T. HAWKINS

National coordinator

Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust

Washington


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