Opinion: Heading Off Sequestration

As the U.S. celebrates the bicentennial of the War of 1812, the lessons of that long-ago conflict should not be forgotten by today’s policymakers. In those bleak years, the U.S. saw that even the border of an expansive ocean would not fully protect our nation.

U.S. resilience reaffirmed our sovereignty during that war. The influence of seapower on national security and commerce was clear then, and it remains the same today. Unfortunately, decisions in the coming months could jeopardize the tools required to maintain America’s leadership in the world.

There is no doubt the U.S. faces a diverse set of challenges abroad — from the Asia-Pacific region and Iran to a host of emerging threats. And yet, discussions of future investment within the Pentagon and Congress are set against a backdrop of budget uncertainty and looming sequestration, which could cripple the ability of our armed forces to fulfill its strategic priorities.

With America’s debt nearing $16 trillion, reining in reckless federal spending is imperative to our national and economic security. Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, identified the debt as our No. 1 security threat.

However, addressing the country’s long-term fiscal challenge should not risk the leadership and pre-eminence of the American military or the skilled jobs necessary to supply today’s advanced force. Federal debt is a national security threat, but so is unilaterally cutting key funding to America’s men and women in uniform.

Sen Roger Wicker
7/9/12