August 30, 2013

Taunton Daily Gazette Op-Ed: General Dynamic’s WIN-T program a good example of a good investment

Massachusetts helps keep our country safe. The incredible national defense work happening every day strengthens our national security - and we need to support that work.

Since taking office, I've made it a priority to visit our state's military bases to hear about how these critical efforts impact our service members and our national defense. The work that goes on at bases and by defense contractors throughout the Commonwealth is a great example of how investments in research and development can help ensure our nation's military is ready and able to meet current and emerging needs while also supporting our state's economy.

Unfortunately, some of these critical programs have been threatened by the senseless across-the-board federal spending cuts that recently went into effect. These damaging cuts take a meat-ax to our budget, instead of making smart, targeted cuts to reduce the deficit. Instead of threatening the economy and our security, we can bring our deficit under control by closing corporate tax loopholes and passing the Buffett Rule.

It is critical that our spending support our economy and our security. For example, I strongly support tax policies that create jobs such as the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit, which encourages investment in domestic research. In today's global economy, businesses have many alternatives as to where they invest in R&D and improving this tax credit will help Massachusetts companies create more 21st century jobs. A balanced tax reform that stimulates innovation while making sure everyone pays their fair share will help prevent unnecessary cuts to important military programs, preserve key research projects, and protect programs that support children, seniors, and veterans.

Defense spending should always align with our strategic priorities. As risk assessments change, we should make targeted cuts in some areas while we increase spending in others. The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) army modernization program is an example of the kinds of efforts we should be supporting.
Produced by General Dynamics in Taunton, WIN-T improves the Army's communications systems, helping to protect our soldiers by enabling them to more effectively and securely communicate while on the ground.
Our soldiers' communications gear can be just as important as body armor and rifles in combat, helping to increase situational awareness, reduce civilian casualties, and prevent friendly-fire tragedies. We can't predict the next civilian conflict or humanitarian mission that will face our nation and our brave troops, but we know for certain that our soldiers will need flexible and effective communications equipment to meet the challenges ahead.

Despite its clear benefits to our national security, funding for WIN-T was threatened by the sequester's severe across-the-board budget cuts. Together with my colleagues in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, we fought to preserve this critical program. The WIN-T cuts were prevented, and the hundreds of jobs right here in Taunton supported by the program were protected. The leadership of U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who serves on House Armed Services Committee, was especially critical to this effort. Now we need to make sure that other investments in necessary programs that protect our families and communities are preserved and that this program continues to be a priority.

Massachusetts leads the nation in new, innovative defense work that will help our military modernize and adapt to meet current needs and address emerging threats. These are essential programs that are part of a smart strategy that addresses our fiscal challenges while strengthening national security. I'm pleased that funding for the WIN-T program was preserved, and I am committed to continuing to work with the Massachusetts delegation to make sure defense work remains a top priority.

Read the op-ed on the Taunton Daily Gazette website here.

By:  Senator Elizabeth Warren
Source: Taunton Daily Gazette