With sequestration looking likely at the end of the week, the picture of the impact on U.S. national security gets clearer by the day.
So far much of the spotlight is on what largely indiscriminate cuts of around 12% to the defense budget this fiscal year will do to military readiness or shipyard job losses. If Congress kicks the can again, the cuts will be deeper this year. The U.S. defense budget has risen more than 80%, excluding ongoing war costs, since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. There is a need to reduce military spending, and room to do it responsibly if it is the product of our best strategic thinking.
Sequestration is in no way the responsible thing, however.
Effective defense budget cuts are precise and deliberate, not the result of the political equivalent of a professional wrestling match that is culminating in across the board reductions.
Not only can sequestration weaken the military, it already threatens U.S. national security in a way that is not being talked about enough: damage to American competitiveness.