Unless Congress acts, March 1 will trigger a $55 billion-per-year ($45 billion in 2013, as the fiscal cliff deal delayed the cuts for two months) cut in national defense, known as sequestration, which will weaken the United States’s ability to defend itself. But this does not have to happen; Congress should cut other spending to prevent the debilitating cuts to defense.

National defense, unlike most other discretionary programs, is a central constitutional duty and today represents only 17 percent of the budget. Yet nearly half of the Congress-mandated sequestration cuts—$492 billion—would come from defense. These across-the-board cuts threaten our nation’s defense capability.

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