Maryland unprepared for defense cuts [Letter]

In this current legislative season, the Maryland General Assembly had an opportunity to support proposed legislation which would establish a Futures Commission to help our state develop a strategy for dealing with potential military cuts. The Future Commission was based on best practices from the U.S. Department of Defense and as the state with the fourth greatest dependency on military spending, there are concerns that defense draw downs could potentially create difficult economic shocks for many workers and communities in Maryland. However, the legislation was unanimously defeated in both the Senate and House committees despite the fact that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had just a week before announced impeding defense cuts.

What is particularly tragic about this decision is that the Maryland General Assembly leadership announced that instead of the Futures Commission, they were going to create an alternative economic development commission to expand cyber-security. And now with the President Barack Obama's recent announcement this week that the mission of the Maryland-based National Security Agency will be dramatically cut, our state is faced with a double whammy ("Ruppersberger bill would end NSA bulk telephone data collection March 24).

On the one hand, we have a commission with the goal of building upon an industry that the federal government will be working toward curtailing. Meanwhile, Maryland workers who face a precarious economic situation due to potential defense spending cuts either in a general sense or related to the NSA are left without any sort of game plan for dealing with this change. Simply put, the Assembly failed to see the writing on the wall.

Susan Kerin, Derwood

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