The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 25, 2013

Our View: National security

The Joplin Globe

— Missouri Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt are now both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

We encourage them to speak out to their Missouri constituents on how our national security needs should be funded in the coming years.

Today our military reach is still global in nature. Must it continue to be such a force structure in the future? That is the fundamental decision to be made today.

Few would argue, we hope, that preventing a nuclear exchange in the future through nuclear deterrence remains our first and vital priority in matters of national security.

Maintaining freedom of the seas is our next priority. Ships of all nations must continue to be able to navigate in all international waters anywhere in the world. We must have the sea power to ensure such remains a constant for the coming decades. Ninety percent of all world trade goes by sea, and that is not going to change in the near future.

Those two objectives are expensive, particularly if we must fund such forces by ourselves. But we know of no other nations willing and able to bear their share of such burdens today or tomorrow. We must be prepared, on our own, to deter nuclear war and keep our seas free.

Given those objectives, the debate of how to build, operate and maintain an adequate force structure should then follow.

Do we have the economic wherewithal to “nation build” overseas with ground forces in the future?

Before Congress starts cutting defense spending, a strategic debate is needed. We hope our two senators agree with that approach and would like to hear their views on that subject, given their positions of leadership in the Senate.