Posts Tagged ‘NDP’

Congressional Conference Agreement calls for 8 congressionally appointed members of the QDR Independent Panel

Inside Defense reports on 08 October 2009 that the Congressional Conference Agreement provides for Congress to appoint eight members to the mandated QDR Independent Panel (see panel charter). This will bring the total number of panelists to twenty.

QDR An Honest Review? Rep. Akin

Todd Akin. DoD Buzz, 25 August 2009.

see also: Is the QDR ‘a PR stunt’ or a sincere effort to reconcile posture and budget with strategy?

U.S. Congress May Create Alternative QDR Review

John T. Bennett. Defense News, 21 July 2009.

National Defense Panel will be a natural rallying point…to derail the Gates train

And so the National Defense Panel will be a natural rallying point for the disparate forces on Capitol Hill and throughout Washington seeking to derail the Gates train. It will provide a vehicle not just for reviewing the termination of the F-22 and other major procurements but also for advocating a more meaningful commitment to irregular warfare by increasing the numbers of U.S. land forces. It would offset the twin Gates strategies of divide-and-conquer–playing off one procurement program against another–and pitting concerns about irregular and high-tech conventional warfare against each other in a zero-sum budget game.

As of today, the QDR is an exercise in putting strategic lipstick on a budget-cutting pig; it is part and parcel of the administration’s larger goal of fundamentally reordering federal priorities. At the end of eight years, if the White House has its way, the U.S. budget will ape those of most European countries: huge domestic entitlements, with a defense burden shrinking to or below 3 percent of GDP.

The proposed National Defense Panel could be a small but significant sign that some Democrats and Republicans are having second thoughts about this direction and are willing to challenge Gates’s aura of infallibility. If the Senate adds the National Defense Panel provision to the final defense bill, the stage will be set, if not for a battle royal, then at least for an honest debate about the country’s future defenses.

from Revolt of the Congress, by Tom Donnelly & Gary Schmitt, The Weekly Standard, 20 July 2009.

Legislation Describing a National Defense Panel for 2009/2010 – HR2647, section 1035

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)


(a) Establishment- There is established a bipartisan, independent panel to be known as the National Defense Panel (in this section referred to as the `Panel’). The Panel shall have the duties set forth in this section.

(b) Membership- The Panel shall be composed of twelve members who are recognized experts in matters relating to the national security of the United States. The members shall be appointed as follows:

(1) Three by the chairman of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives.

(2) Three by the chairman of the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate.

(3) Two by the ranking member of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives.

(4) Two by the ranking member of the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate.

(5) Two by the Secretary of Defense.

(c) Co-chairs of the Panel- The chairman of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives and the chairman of the Committee of Armed Services of the Senate shall each designate one of their appointees under subsection (b) to serve as co-chair of the panel.

(d) Period of Appointment; Vacancies- Members shall be appointed for the life of the Panel. Any vacancy in the Panel shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(e) Duties- The Panel shall–

(1) review the national defense strategy, the national military strategy, the Secretary of Defense’s terms of reference, and any other materials providing the basis for, or substantial inputs to, the work of the Department of Defense on the 2009 quadrennial defense review under section 118 of title 10, United States Code (in this subsection referred to as the `2009 QDR’), as well as the 2009 QDR itself;

(2) conduct an assessment of the assumptions, strategy, findings, costs, and risks of the report of the 2009 QDR, with particular attention paid to the risks described in that report;

(3) submit to the congressional defense committees and the Secretary an independent assessment of a variety of possible force structures of the Armed Forces, including the force structure identified in the report of the 2009 QDR, suitable to meet the requirements identified in the review required in paragraph (1);

(4) to the extent practicable, estimate the funding required by fiscal year, in constant fiscal year 2010 dollars, to organize, equip, and support the forces contemplated under the force structures assessed in the assessment under paragraph (3); and

(5) provide to Congress and the Secretary of Defense, through the reports under subsection (g), any recommendations it considers appropriate for their consideration.

(f) First Meeting-

(1) The Panel shall hold its first meeting no later than 30 days after the date as of which all appointments to the Panel under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) of subsection (b) have been made.

(2) If the Secretary of Defense has not made the Secretary’s appointments to the Panel under subsection (b)(5) by the date of the first meeting pursuant to paragraph (1), the Panel shall convene with the remaining members.

(g) Reports-

(1) Not later than April 15, 2010, the Panel shall submit an interim report on its findings to the congressional defense committees and to the Secretary of Defense.

(2) Not later than January 15, 2011, the Panel shall submit its final report, together with any recommendations, to the congressional defense committees and to the Secretary of Defense.

(3) Not later than February 15, 2011, the Secretary of Defense, after consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shall submit to the committees referred to in paragraph (2) the Secretary’s comments on the Panel’s final report under that paragraph.

(h) Information From Federal Agencies- The Panel may secure directly from the Department of Defense and any of its components such information as the Panel considers necessary to carry out its duties under this section. The head of the department or agency concerned shall ensure that information requested by the Panel under this subsection is promptly provided.

(i) FFRDC Support- Upon the request of the co-chairs of the Panel, the Secretary of Defense shall make available to the Panel the services of any federally funded research and development center that is covered by a sponsoring agreement of the Department of Defense.

(j) Personnel Matters- The Panel shall have the authorities provided in section 3161 of title 5, United States Code, and shall be subject to the conditions set forth in such section.

(k) Payment of Panel Expenses- Funds for activities of the Panel shall be provided from amounts available to the Department of Defense.

(l) Termination- The Panel shall terminate 45 days after the date on which the Panel submits its final report under subsection (g)(2).

Congress should revive the National Defense Panel

Congress should revive the National Defense Panel as a safeguard against a defense review where the outcome has been predetermined by spending restraints. Indeed, when the QDR legislation was first passed, the blue-ribbon NDP was intended to be a permanent congressional check and balance. In the mid-1990s, the Congress had no one confidence in the Clinton Administration’s budget-first, strategy-after process, and there’s no reason the Congress should accept it from the Obama Administration. The constitutional responsibility for funding the American military rests with Congress, and it should get a considered second opinion before it blindly follows the new president’s first guess on how to reshape and reduce the military.

from Resistance on Defense Cuts Takes Shape in the Senate, by Michael Goldfarb, Weekly Standard blog, 01 May 2009.