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Your Jan. 7 article on the smaller, leaner military emerging from the recent strategic review (“Defense strategy set — now what?”) ignored the knockout blow that the $500 billion in sequestration cuts could deal to our military capabilities and national security.

As noted in your article, Pentagon planners are already being forced to cut critical capabilities because of the $450 billion in cuts imposed by the debt ceiling deal’s first round — and they have a chance to decide how those cuts will be made. Yet the coming sequestration cuts would slash across the board, decimating the budget for pens and paper just as much as [for] soldier body armor or reconnaissance drones.

In a plot twist more reminiscent of Hollywood farce than Pentagon policy, that would cut back funding for missile defense at the very moment that Iran is racing toward building a nuclear ballistic missile, according to a recent United Nations report. It’s absurd to cut this capability right when we need it, after years of testing and work have convinced even Democrats such as President Barack Obama that missile defense works.

Cutting the Pentagon budget is tough but necessary. Slashing our essential capabilities through sequestration is national security suicide.

Adm. James A. Lyons Jr. (retired)

Warrenton, Va.

Teach about TBI in residency

The politician’s view is expressed in your Jan. 12 article “Med schools will offer more PTSD, TBI courses,” on the effort to teach medical students about traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, but nothing from the medical community is included.

As a physician who has practiced in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, I think this political effort is misplaced. Medical students are already inundated with politically driven training, e.g. geriatrics. Many medical students will go into medical specialties where this training will not be utilized or remembered. It would be more cost-effective and beneficial if the focus was on residency training programs that focus on primary-care teaching. Family physicians, pediatricians, internists and emergency medicine physicians are the ones who need this training. I’m not sure why medical students would be targeted.

Dr. (Maj.) Theodore R. Stefani

Camp Nathan Smith, Afghanistan


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