The March 27 article “Mayo Clinic aims for more Pentagon funding” gives us hope that the extraordinary amount of funding the Pentagon receives could at last be directed toward helping our servicemen and women, rather than unneeded weapons systems.
One of the most wasteful projects, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is the most expensive weapons program ever created, coming in at $1.5 trillion. From engineering problems to running years behind schedule and millions over budget, this aircraft is not worth its price. There is plenty of evidence that other aircraft can less expensively ensure continued U.S. air combat superiority.
Of course, we cannot forget the bottomless pit of nuclear weapons spending. Experts acknowledge that we cannot spend the estimated trillion dollars to modernize the enormous nuclear weapons arsenal over the coming decades without extreme sacrifices in other areas for many years to come.
Will those sacrifices be made on the backs of our men and women in uniform, the Mayo Clinic or things we need to face 21st-century threats? The Pentagon’s massive budget ought to fund security for the American people — not expensive, outdated, unnecessary and often unworkable weapons.
Kim Norton, Rochester
The writer is assistant DFL majority leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
via Letter of the Day (April 6): Pentagon funds and the Mayo Clinic | Minneapolis Star Tribune.