It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.
Fermilab, of course, went on to become on of the most successful high-energy labs of all time, including the discovery of the bottom quark.
But now the U.S. can't even come up with $35M to continue work on the most important issue in experimental physics (and, almost surely, a Nobel Prize):
Researchers working at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, had wanted to run their 25-year-old atom smasher, the Tevatron, through 2014 in hopes of spotting the so-called Higgs boson before their European counterparts could discover it with their newer, more powerful atom smasher. But ofﬁcials at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which funds Fermilab, informed lab ofﬁcials this week that DOE cannot come up with the extra $35 million per year to keep the Tevatron going beyond September.
-- Adrian Cho, Science, Jan 14, 2011