David Castillo: Congress WA-03

Standard over the transom political fare. But he’s right on the military theme of the op-ed. Thought I’d share it with you, given that. Here’s his site – and he also has a blog. Check him out and make up your own mind on the rest. Sounds pretty good from what I saw.

As the only son of a single mom with four kids, David grew up when money was tight and church and friends were a vital resource. He learned a special appreciation for the opportunities our country provides.

Submitted op-ed – internal link below is to the National Defense Trust:

In today’s changing security environment, America faces many different types of threats.  Nearby North Korea regularly fires missiles in the direction of our West Coast while our soldiers fight a long fight of inches against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.  However, we should never become numb to these threats and conflicts, letting down our guard; we should always remember that without a strong national defense, we simply will not survive as a free nation.
It is the duty of every generation – both civilians and those in uniform – to uphold our nation’s liberties and to see to its defense.  As a civilian that once proudly served my country in the U.S. Navy, I am constantly reminded of our duty to stay informed, make our voice heard in government, and vote.
With that in mind, I am deeply concerned with what’s happening in Washington with regard to our nation’s defenses.  Why?  Because President Obama is recklessly cutting our defense budget in a time of war. 
The President’s 2010 defense budget request is for $534 billion.  And while some might simply look at President Bush’s 2009 budget of $515 billion and conclude that Obama is asking for an increase, they should look more closely.  If war supplemental spending for both Presidents are added, we find that the 2010 Obama budget totals $30 billion less than President Bush’s overall 2009 budget of $647 billion.  That’s right, a $30 billion cut in a time of war.
And these spending cuts won’t come from government efficiencies or eliminating waste.  In fact, President Obama and Democrats in Congress are degrading the current military advantages we enjoy over land, at sea, and in the air by cutting capabilities.
For instance, cuts to the F-18 Super Hornet are endangering the capabilities of our naval forces by creating a dangerous fighter aircraft shortfall.  Multi-purpose F-35 fighters have run into significant delays, and won’t be delivered until 2015 at the earliest.  Meanwhile, the administration and Democrats in Congress have failed to purchase enough proven F-18 Super Hornets to make a gaping fighter jet shortfall of at least 200 aircraft – four aircraft carriers worth.  While the argument is that the Hornet will be replaced with the carrier version of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the truth is that the F-35 is not a replacement, but a compliment to the F-18.  Democrats could easily solve the problem by purchasing more F-18’s now, but they’ve stubbornly refused. 
In addition, the Democratic-dominated Congress has just eliminated the most dominating fighter ever produced, the F-22 Raptor.  Again, the excuse for cutting the F-22 is that the Air Force version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be coming online.  But again, the F-35 is not a replacement for the far more capable F-22, but a compliment to it and it is more than two years behind schedule.  With Russia and China taking an adversarial stance against the United States, siding with countries like Iran and the aforementioned North Korea that are threatening American interests, does it make sense to eliminate the one aircraft that is capable of penetrating the most sophisticated air defenses?
Our missile defenses are also on the chopping block, with ground-based anti-ballistic missile systems being cut just as they are showing the most promise.  With North Korea threatening Hawaii and the West Coast by testing nuclear bombs as well as ballistic missiles with ranges of 4,000 miles, does this make sense?
From my time at in basic training with the Navy I remember well the mission: defeat any threats to the continued free use of the high seas by the United States.  This high mission requires constant vigilance, at peace or at war.  Staying on the cutting edge of military capability on land, sea and air is the best way to deter our adversaries from aggressive action against America and her allies.  Is this not worth our generation’s time and treasure as we fulfill our duty to protect our nation’s freedom?
David Castillo served in the United States Navy and is a resident of East Olympia, Washington.