Forward Observer: QDR is a Quite Disappointing Report

George C. Wilson. Government Executive, 05 March 2010.


I spent months in 1997 going behind the scenes at the Pentagon and Congress to find out about all the wheeling and dealing that went into the writing of the QDR that year. “I had high hopes for the QDR,” Gen. Ronald Fogleman, former Air Force Chief of Staff, told me. “In my view, for the QDR to be a success there was going to have to be some fairly significant realignment among the [armed] services.”

But Fogleman said his hopes for meaningful reform were dashed when the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, sent a two-star general to Fogleman’s office to deliver this message: “The chairman would like to have the QDR turn out to be as close to the status quo as we can make this thing work. His message is: ‘We don’t need any Billy Mitchells,'” the general said, referring to Army Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell, who revolutionized the use of air power by demonstrating in 1923 how bombers could sink Navy warships.

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