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Key excerpts from the 18 January 2006 draft of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review

24 January 2006

Editor's note: On 23 January 2006, published 42 pages of material excerpted from a 127-page "draft working paper" version of the QDR dated 18 January 2006. This is a selection (about 6% of the total QDR text) from those excerpts designated "key" by this editor. -- Charles Knight.

From "Fighting The Long War" Pp. 23-26

Operational Lessons Learned

Having the Authorities and Resources to Build Partnership Capacity: Recent operations demonstrate the value critical importance of being organized to work with and through others, and of shifting emphasis from performing tasks ourselves to enabling others. They also underscore the importance of adopting a more indirect approach to achieve common objectives.

Recent efforts to build partnership capacity also highlight the importance of flexible access to funding through programs such as the Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP)…
… needed authorities include: institutionalizing CERP for named contingency operations world-wide; expanding the President's authority to task and resource best-situated Federal agencies in an emergency; and broader reimbursement authority for coalition support forces and expanded logistics support to other nations partnering with the U.S. in the war on terror.

…operational agility has not yet been matched by the availability of sufficiently broad authorities…

[from the Summary section] Authorities that permit nimble and adaptive policies, processes and institutions -- domestic and international -- are essential adjuncts to the military capability needed to address the rapidly evolving security challenges around the globe.

From "Operationalizing the Strategy" Pp. 54-58

Refining the Department's Force Planning Construct for Wartime

Surge -- wage two nearly simultaneous conventional campaigns (or one conventional campaign if already engaged in a large-scale, long-duration irregular campaign), while selectively reinforcing deterrence against opportunistic acts of aggression. Be prepared in one of the two campaigns to remove a hostile regime …and set conditions for the transition to, or for the restoration of, civil society.

From "Reorienting Capabilities and Forces" Pp. 58-86

Based on the Operational Availability analysis, other related assessments, and extensive senior leader discussions, the Department concluded that the size of today's forces -- both the Active and Reserve Components across all four Services -- is appropriate to meet current and projected operational demands. At the same time, these analyses highlighted the need to continue re-balancing the mix of joint capabilities and forces.

Joint Ground Forces


Future warriors will be as proficient in irregular operations, including counterinsurgency and stabilization operations, as they are today in high-intensity combat. They will be modular in structure at all levels, largely self-sustaining, and capable of operating both in traditional formations as well as disaggregating into smaller, autonomous units. They will be able to sustain long-duration irregular operations, while exploiting reach-back to non-deployed elements of the force.

QDR Decisions

To achieve future joint ground force characteristics and build on progress to date, the Department will:

  • Continue to rebalance capabilities by creating modular brigades in all thee Army components: 117 in the Regular Army (42 BCTs and 75 support brigades); 106 in the Army National Guard (28 BCTs and 78 support brigades); and 58 support brigades in the U.S. Army Reserve. This equates to a 16 percent increase in readily available combat power and a better balance between combat and support forces.
  • Transform Army units and headquarters to modular designs.
  • Incorporate FCS improvements into the modular force through a spiral development effort that will introduce new technologies as they are developed.
  • Expand the Air Force Joint Tactical Air Control program by jointly training personnel for air/ground operations and use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
  • Stabilize the Army's end strength at 482,400Active and 533,000 Reserve Component personnel by Fiscal Year 2011.
  • Stabilize the Marine Corps' end strength at 175,000 Active and 39,000 Reserve Component personnel by Fiscal Year 2011.

Special Operations Forces


SOF will increase their capacity to perform more demanding and specialized tasks, especially long-duration, indirect and clandestine operations in politically sensitive environments and denied areas. For direct action, they will possess an expanded organic ability to locate, tag, and track dangerous individuals and other highvalue targets globally. SOF will also have greater capacity to detect, locate, and render safe WMD. For unconventional warfare and training foreign forces, future SOF will have the capacity to operate in dozens of countries simultaneously. SOF will have increased ability to train and work with partners, employ surrogates, operate clandestinely, and sustain a larger posture with lower visibility. SOF will sustain current language and cultural skills while increasing regional proficiency specific to key geographic operational areas: the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Longer duration operations will emphasize building personal relationships with foreign military and security forces and other indigenous assets to achieve common objectives.

QDR Decisions

To achieve the future force characteristics for SOF and build on progress to date, the Department will:

  • Further increase SOF capability and capacity to conduct low-visibility, persistent presence missions and a global unconventional warfare campaign.
  • Increase (starting in Fiscal Year 2007) active-duty Special Forces Battalions by one-third.
  • Expand Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units by 3,500 personnel (33% increase) to provide increased support for SOF and the Army's modular forces.
  • Establish a Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) composed of 2,600 Marines and Navy personnel to train foreign military units, and conduct direct action and special reconnaissance.
  • Increase SEAL Team force levels to conduct direct action missions.
  • Establish a SOF unmanned aerial vehicle squadron to provide organic capabilities to locate and target enemy capabilities in denied or contested areas.
  • Enhance capabilities to support SOF insertion and extraction into denied areas from strategic distances.

Joint Air Capabilities

Progress to Date

Consistent with these future force characteristics, the Air Expeditionary Forces (AEF) concept has matured over the last four years, increasing personnel available for deployment by 20% (51,000). Since 200 1, Air Force Joint Tactical Attack Controllers (JTACs), many attached to SOF units, have directed over 85% of air strikes in Afghanistan.

The Department is continuing to reconfigure its strategic bomber fleet for enhanced conventional long-range strike missions. Satellite communications now permit near-instantaneous re-targeting of bombers and cruise missiles in flight. The integration of smart standoff weapons keeps older systems like the B-52 relevant in the modern, high-threat battlespace. New weapons provide increased capacity: the new 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) gives a single B-2 the ability to strike 80 separate targets, with precision, in all weather. The Air Force has set a goal of increasing its longrange strike capabilities by 50% and the penetrating component of long-range strike by a factor of five by 2025. Approximately 35% of the future long-range strike force will be unmanned. The capacity for joint air forces to conduct global conventional strikes against time-sensitive targets will also be increased.

QDR Decisions

To achieve the future joint force characteristics and build on progress to date, the Department will plans to:

  • Develop a new land-based, penetrating long-range strike capability to be fielded by 20 18 while modernizing the current bomber force.
  • Reduce the B-52 force to 56 aircraft and use savings to fully modernize B-52s, B- 1s, and B-2s to support global strike operations.
  • Restructure the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program and develop an unmanned longer-range carrier-based aircraft capable of being air-refueled to provide greater standoff capability, to expand payload and launch options, and to increase naval reach and persistence.
  • Nearly double UAV coverage capacity by accelerating the acquisition of Predator UAVs and Global Hawk.
  • Restructure the F-22A program and extend production through Fiscal Year 2010 with a multi-year acquisition contract, to ensure the Department does not have a gap in 5th generation stealth capabilities.
  • Organize the Air Force around 86 combat wings (e.g., fighter, bomber, ISR/Battle 1823 Management/Command and Control, mobility, Air Operations Centers, Battlefield Airmen, other missions, and Space/missile) with reach back emphasis for penetrating surveillance and unmanned operations emphasis on leveraging reach-back to minimize forward footprints and expedite force deployments, while reducing Air Force end strength by approximately 40,000 full-time equivalent personnel with balanced cuts across the Total Force.

Joint Maritime Capabilities


The fleet will have greater presence in the Pacific Ocean, consistent with the global shift of trade and transport. Accordingly, the Navy plans to adjust its force posture and basing to provide at least six operationally available and sustainable carriers and 60% of its submarines in the Pacific to support engagement, presence, and deterrence.

Progress to Date

Applying distributed operating concepts, the Navy increased the number of available independent strike groups from 19 to 36. The Fleet Response Plan (FRP) modified the Navy's tiered readiness posture to increase the amount of time a ship or other naval unit is fully ready to deploy. The FRP produces adaptable force packages and sustains higher readiness throughout a unit's operational cycle, decreasing the Fleet's down time and enabling immediate deployment of six of the Navy's eleven carrier strike groups, with the addition of two more within 90 days. Rotational crewing has further increased the operational availability of forces by up to 33%.

In 2003, the Navy began converting four of the oldest nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to guided missile and special operations platforms. The four submarines will re-enter service by September 2007. Modifications will allow embarked Special Operations Force (SOF) personnel to penetrate denied areas to locate high-value individuals, designate targets for precision strike, or conduct direct action missions against WMD facilities. Each submarine will also carry more 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

QDR Decisions

To achieve the future joint maritime force characteristics and build on progress to date, the Department will:

  • Build a larger fleet that includes 11 Carrier Strike Groups, balance the need to transform and recapitalize the fleet, improve affordability, and provide stability for the shipbuilding industry.
  • Accelerate procurement of Littoral Combat Ships to provide power projection capabilities in littoral waters.
  • Procure the first eight ships of the Maritime Pre-Position Force (Future) to improve the Department's ability to operate in restricted access environments.
  • Provide a Navy riverine capability for river patrol, interdiction, and tactical troop movement on inland waterways.
  • Build partner capacity to improve global maritime security by reinvigorating the Navy Foreign Area Officer program and procuring Disaster Relief Command and Control fly-away communication support capabilities.
  • Return to a steady-state production rate of two attack submarines per year not later than 2012 while achieving an average per-hull procurement cost objective of $2.0 billion.

Tailored Deterrence / New Triad

Progress to Date

Ballistic missile defenses have begun limited operations to defend against a range of potential threats as development, testing, and fielding continue. In late 2004, the Navy began limited defensive operations in the Sea of Japan to identify and track ballistic missile launches aimed at the United States or its allies.

The U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) has been assigned a number of new missions, including global strike; integration of global missile defense; space operations; integration of command, control, communications, and intelligence; and combating WMD.

QDR Decisions

To achieve the characteristics of the future joint force and build on progress to date, the Department will:

  • …. [Develop] conventional warheads using long-range Trident Submarine- Launched Ballistic Missiles.
  • Reduce the number of deployed Minuteman III ballistic missiles from 500 to 450 beginning in Fiscal Year 2007.
  • Retire four E-4B National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) aircraft and accelerate procurement of two C-32 aircraft with state-of-the-art mission suites as replacement aircraft.
  • Upgrade E-6B TACAMO command and control aircraft to sustain a survivable airborne link to strategic nuclear forces and provide an airborne cellular base station for domestic catastrophic events.
  • Retire the USSTRATCOM Mobile Consolidated Command Center in Fiscal Year 2007, while finding a new distributed ground-based communications system to provide survivable and enduring command and control for nuclear forces starting in Fiscal Year 2007.
  • Make additional investments in information assurance capabilities to protect information and the Department's computer networks.
  • Further coordinate Strengthen coordination of defensive and offensive cyber missions across the Department.
  • Leverage lessons learned from computer network attack and exploitation activities to improve network defense and adopt a defense-in-depth planning approach to protect information.
  • Improve the Department's information sharing with other agencies and with international allies and partners by developing information protection policies and exploiting the latest commercial technologies.

Joint Mobility

QDR Decisions

In accordance with Section 131 of the Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, the Department provides the following assessment of the inter-theater airlift capabilities:

  • Extensive investments in cargo transportability, strategic lift, and prepositioned stocks over the past decade have yielded military forces capable of responding to a broad spectrum of security challenges worldwide.
  • To maintain and enhance this capability, the Department must continue to recapitalize and modernize its mobility platforms, complete the C- 17 multiyear contract, replenish prepositioned stocks consumed in recent operations, and proceed with C-5 modernization efforts. The Department plans to acquire and modernize a fleet of 292 inter-theater airlifters (180 C- 17s and 112 modernized and reliability-enhanced C-5s). C- 17 tooling will be moved to offsite storage to preserve the option of procuring additional C- 1 7s.
  • In addition, the Department must continue to pursue enabling technologies for transformational logistics and innovative operational concepts such as seabasing.

To achieve the characteristics of the future joint mobility force and build on progress to date, the Department will also:

  • Complete the C/KC-130J multi-year contract to procure an additional 18 Air Force C-130Js and 8 Marine Corps KC-130Js;
  • ...[Develop] an intra-theater light cargo aircraft for future expeditionary needs; and
  • Recapitalize the tanker fleet to ensure global mobility and power projection.

From "Developing a 21st Century Force" Pp. 104-107

Reconfiguring the Total Force

In particular, the Reserve Component must be operationalized, so that select Reservists and units are more accessible and more readily deployable than today. During the Cold War, the Reserve Component was used, appropriately, as a "strategic reserve," to provide support to Active Component forces during major combat operations. In today's global context, this concept is less relevant. As a result, the Department will:

  • Pursue authorities for increased access to the Reserve Component: to increase the period authorized for Presidential Reserve Call-up from 270 to 365 days, and to give the Department authority to place up to 15% of the Reserve Component on active duty.
  • Better focus the use of the Reserve Components' competencies for homeland defense and civil support operations, and seek changes to authorities to improve access to Guard and Reserve consequence management capabilities and capacity in support of civil authorities.
  • Achieve revision of Presidential Reserve Call-Up authorities to allow activation of Military Department Reserve Components for natural disasters in order to smooth the process for meeting specific needs without relying solely on volunteers.
  • Allow individuals who volunteer for activation on short notice to serve for long periods on major headquarters staffs as individual augmentees.
  • Develop select Reserve units that train more intensively and require shorter notice for deployment.

Additionally, the Military Departments will explore the creation of all-volunteer Reserve units with high-demand capabilities, and the Military Departments and Combatant Commanders will expand the concept of contracted volunteers...

"Key excerpts from the 18 January 2006 draft of the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review." Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth Institute, Project on Defense Alternatives, 24 January 2006.


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