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It’s budget time in Washington, D.C.

The proposed 2020 Pentagon budget is between $700 billion to $750 billion. If VA health care, Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and cyber security is included, the total is $989 billion out of a $4.716 trillion budget with a $1.101 trillion deficit. U.S. military expenditures are more than the total military expenditure of the next nine high spending countries including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and France. Just the increase the last two years in the U.S. budget is more than Russia’s total military expenditure.

Military expenditures could be reduced by removing older, unsafe Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. Montana has 133 ICBMs with three warheads each for a total of 399 nuclear bombs.

Each of the nuclear warheads is estimated to be 3,000 times more powerful than one of the atomic bombs dropped in Japan. Having ICBMs, Montana’s safety is jeopardized by being a first-strike area from a hostile country. Just a few nuclear explosions from ICBMs would create global decimation of nearly all life because of the cloud cover and radioactive material.

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The Department of Defense is planning on a new defense system by 2029. Now is a good time to ask our senators, representative, and local elected officials to ask the DOD to remove systematically ICBMs instead of refurbishing them, thus decreasing our military budget.

Montana could become a leader increasing domestic safety and saving federal tax dollars.

Betty Whiting

Billings

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