To the Editor:
As a Navy veteran and a strong supporter of our military, I commend President Trump for initiating a program to rebuild our military with a defense budget increase of $54 billion, but it should be decreased by $1.3 billion. The $1.3 billion should be added to the Coast Guard budget within the Department of Homeland Security to keep it level.
Our military has shrunk dramatically and been neglected in recent times. Although we have increased the capabilities of our military through technological advances, we have downsized our forces and we have not adequately replaced worn out equipment.
Due to the cuts imposed by the 2014 Sequestration Act, our Army has significantly decreased from a high of 570,000 soldiers after 9/11. It is heading down to 450,000. The Marines are going from 184,000 to 175,000. The National Guard and Reserves will lose tens of thousands.
The Air Force will have 700 fewer aircraft, and the Navy remains at 286 ships.
My Navy had 11 carrier battle groups, but at any one time, a number of them are not available due to overhaul and maintenance requirements, in port rest and relaxation, and ships in transit. It should have 12 carrier battle groups to fulfill its global missions in a dangerous world.
George Will in an article in 2015 stated “the sun never sets” on our Navy.
Potential adversaries continue to build up their military forces. Iran has a large army and continues with its missile development program. North Korea continues to test long-range missiles and develop nuclear armaments.
The two significant potential adversaries are China and Russia. China has a huge army, is adding to its air force, and is building up its navy, including aircraft carriers and submarines. China lays claim to the South China Sea and has established island bases in the region, which our Navy will have to contest.
Russia is rebuilding its navy and maintains a large army and air force, and it continues to threaten Europe.
Trump should continue to rebuild our military so we can meet the military challenges in the world, preserve our national security and keep the peace.
P.S. Trump – please stop your unpresidential tweets and concentrate on the important matters which impact our national security and our economy.