Fighting Terrorists, Not Soviets

11/23/2011 03:52 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2012

Times have changed. Even though the likes of Beck and Limbaugh still frequently throw around the word "communist" as a favorite epithet, the Cold War has entered its third decade of being spoken of in the past tense. School children aren't taught to "duck and cover" under their desks in the event of a nuclear explosion; Germany is one country again; history students get information on the Cuban Missile Crisis by looking up the Wikipedia entry on their iPads.

Yes, the world has moved on, but not the American Defense budget where billions of dollars are being wasted on outdated Cold War programs designed to protect us from last century's threats.

With the super committee failure and deficits forcing cuts to defense spending, every dollar wasted on Cold War threats is a dollar taken from giving our troops the equipment and training they need to meet modern challenges. This TV ad from the American Values Network seeks to set the stage and deepen the conversation on the military we need and the spending priorities reaquired to get us there.

Cuts to defense spending are a reality; it's now not a question of whether to cut programs, but which programs should be cut. Currently the size of our nuclear arsenal is based on ability to survive and respond to a pre-emptive Soviet attack. Despite this, some in Congress still want to spend $700 billion on outdated nuclear programs. This means real sacrifices to equipment and training our troops need to fight current threats.

Lawmakers who support obsolete nuclear programs should be forced to defend why they're doing so over modern military needs. Every presidential candidate should be forced to answer whether they would be willing to let our troops go without needed equipment for a 21st century military rather than cut our spending on bloated Cold War nuclear systems.

Times have changed. We don't play vinyl records on our iPods; we don't use pay phones when we're out and need to make a call.

And, we shouldn't be funding last century's battles, especially when it comes at the expense of our troops. We need to be equipping them to fight terrorists, not Soviets.