Further defense cuts risk national security

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Monday, June 4, 2012
This is among commentaries submitted to The Gazette from students at Janesville’s Craig and Parker high schools who did field studies in either Washington, D.C., or Madison in Advanced Placement U.S. government courses taught by Joe Van Rooy.

Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. has been on its toes. Even though the government should be keeping the country safe, it’s cutting the defense budget tremendously.

The GAO states that “the Defense Department’s main objective at the start of the Middle Eastern involvement was to prevent the spreading of WMDs.” Even though the U.S. uncovered no WMDs, the threat continues. The Defense Department has switched gears into cyber security and chemical/biological warfare. These threats have increased greatly since U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative stated that “if terrorists can obtain a sufficient quantity of nuclear material, they could design, construct, deploy and detonate a nuclear bomb. The consequences would be so devastating for the world that it justifies every effort to prevent it.”

After releasing this statement, the NTI summarized findings of a “tabletop exercise” involving Russian and U.S. experts that confronted a scenario where terrorists acquired nuclear material. This exercise showed that neither country was ready to handle a real such threat. The NTI also released a “Bio-response report card” showing that if a biological attack hit the U.S., we would barely meet any of the expectations we were graded on.

Today we face the real possibility that outbreaks of disease, naturally occurring or man-made, can change the nature of America—our economy, government and social structure. Even though the country will never be 100 percent safe, now should not be the time to cut defense spending.

Last updated: 8:51 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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