Virginia can’t afford military cuts

Published 8:45 pm Monday, October 15, 2012

By Katie Farrar

I am an Air Force spouse in my mid-40s in Suffolk. My family and I recently returned to Hampton Roads after spending many years serving our country all over the United States and overseas.

Upon our return, we immediately felt the effects of a declining economy and budget cuts, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he would be closing U.S. Joint Forces Command, which happened to be my husband’s new place of employment. The command did close, and hundreds had to seek new employment.

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Growing up in Hampton Roads, a military-saturated region and home to the world’s largest naval base, I remember discussions and fears of our area’s vulnerability to enemy attack.

But while a direct attack may remain a rational concern, we have more looming threats to our national security, including a growing debt and multi-billion-dollar defense cuts. Such cuts would result in massive job loss, higher unemployment rates, ill-equipped troops, and a smaller military force that is supposed to deal with any kind of threat at home and across the globe.

I’m no politician, but common sense tells me this plan is setting us up for peril. How is our national security to remain stable when we downsize our worldwide military capability and compromise our homeland security?

As for Virginia, thousands of jobs will be on the chopping block. The economic well being of Hampton Roads and other military towns, historically fueled by a defense industry presence, will continue to decline. Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has repeatedly stated, “National debt is the greatest threat to our national security.” Our military should be able to meet the demands when called to defend this country.

How can we ask for such a defense when we excessively limit the capability of the military to do so?

My husband proudly flew the F-15 for many years and frequently had to overcome maintenance issues associated with flying the now 40-year-old jet well beyond its intended service life. It was challenging even under a plump budget and is a small representation of obstacles our troops must face. Now let’s add smaller raises, higher health costs and possible job loss to that burden. I agree our debt needs slashing, but I do not believe we should endanger our security to do so.

My candidate of choice will be Mitt Romney, not because he promises to add more funding to the defense budget, but because I believe he can build the economy and create job growth and revenue. As a result, we will have both a stronger economy and stronger national defense.

Katie Farrar has been the owner of a desktop publishing business, a newspaper staff writer and a volunteer for many Air Force organizations, usually in writing or publishing, as well as a stay-at-home mom. Email her at