Letters to the Editor

Readers write about losses of factory jobs and advances in military technology.

What are the reasons behind cuts in manufacturing?

Regarding the Feb. 15 article, "Best US factory jobs in rising jeopardy": It should be pointed out that when trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were being discussed, the proponents of these trade deals claimed in no uncertain terms that American companies would not transfer jobs abroad, that wages would not be subject to downward pressure, and that the United States would not run a large trade deficit. All of these claims have proved to be false. The lack of apology or explanation also strongly suggests to me that those claiming that trade agreements with low-wage countries were somehow going to increase American wages were in fact deliberately lying.

When people make claims that turn out to be totally false, there should be accountability.

Timothy Gawne
Birmingham, Ala.

In response to the Feb. 15 article on manufacturing cuts: Taxation at the local, state, and federal levels should not be overlooked as a reason for factory owners to move abroad or to rely on importing finished products or components.

Arthur Shadforth
Merritt Island, Fla.

In response to the Feb. 15 article on cuts in the manufacturing sector: There is one engineering and factory renaissance that is urgently needed – by America and the world. We need clean energy for homes, cars, workplaces, schools, and every possible human environment and activity.

Personally, I think there will be breakthroughs in solar, hydrogen, wind, wave-action, and geothermal for starters. Imagine the jobs that will be generated.

Gail Murray
West Greenwich, R.I.

Army technology is making gains

Regarding the Feb. 11 article, "Congress eyes defense cuts": The article quotes an anonymous defense official's speculation that the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) modernization program is "in jeopardy." In fact, FCS is a highly successful acquisition program. The Army has already sent FCS technologies into combat, enhancing operational effectiveness and saving lives.

Most Army weapons were designed during the cold war for conventional battle. Conflict today is more likely to be unconventional. Soldiers are operating in complex population centers where precision and knowledge are key. We can and must modernize now.

Modernization is producing a layered land, air, and satellite-based capability that can operate nimbly along the full spectrum, from stabilization and counterinsurgency to all-out war. Vehicles will share components for logistic efficiency, will be networked with other vehicles and troops, and will use unmanned sensors. One FCS development in use – a small, mobile robot – sends video of a hidden enemy. Another technology "smells" explosives.

Teenagers can text friends anywhere on the planet; cars have satellite navigation networks and emergency communications networks. Shouldn't a United States soldier patrolling a back alley have networked communications that enable him to take and send imagery of a sniper's nest to an approaching friendly squad?

FCS accounts for just 3 to 6 percent of the Army's budget in a given year. If it is a priority to give our troops what they need, that's money well spent.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips
Deputy Chief of Public Affairs, United States Army
Washington, D.C.

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