Posts Tagged ‘QDR’

Pentagon budget seeks to kill 7 arms programs

Reuters, 20 January 2010.


The documents, labeled as “draft” and “pre-decisional,” showed continued strong funding for shipbuilding, fighter and electronic warfare aircraft and other weapons programs. They also pointed to continued effort to beef up intelligence programs, unmanned systems, cyber security, and enhanced efforts to counter biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

Obama wants extra $33 billion for wars now, atop record $708 billion sought for 2011

Anne Flaherty and Anne Gearan. Los Angeles Times, 13 January 2010.


The administration’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the main articulation of U.S. military doctrine, is due to Congress on Feb. 1. Top military commanders were briefed on the document at the Pentagon on Monday and Tuesday. They also received a preview of the administration’s budget plans through 2015.

The four-year review outlines six key mission areas and spells out capabilities and goals the Pentagon wants to develop. The pilotless drones used for surveillance and attack missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a priority, with the goals of speeding up the purchase of new Reaper drones and expanding Predator and Reaper drone flights through 2013.

Winslow T. Wheeler, Director, Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information has written a commentary on this report entitled “Just What We Need: More Pentagon Spending” for the Huffington Post, 13 January 2010.

Gates Picks Perry For QDR Panel

Colin Clark. DoD Buzz, 14 December 2009.


Rep. Ike Skelton, chair­man of the House Armed Services Committee, announced his selec­tions for the QDR panel today. Skelton named one of the Army’s most inno­v­a­tive thinkers, retired gen­eral Robert Scales, and for­mer Air Force his­to­rian Richard Kohn to the inde­pen­dent panel on the Quadrennial Defense Review.

Rep. Buck McKeon, rank­ing mem­ber of the HASC, announced his picks for the QDR panel last week: Jim Talent, the Missouri Republican who served in the House and Senate until 2006 and Eric Edelman, for­mer under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­icy from 2005 until January 2009.

2 GOP Defense Veterans Named to QDR Panel

Rick Maze. Defense News, 10 December 2009.


The former lawmaker is Jim Talent, a Missouri Republican who served in the House and Senate until he lost a 2006 re-election bid. He was an adviser to the presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The former Bush administration official picked by McKeon is Eric Edelman, who, as undersecretary of defense for policy from 2005 until January 2009, had responsibilities in areas including bilateral relations, war planning, missile defense and special forces issues.

Can the Government Commission National Security and Budgetary Reform?

Jordan Tama. Budget Insight, 01 December 2009.


In particular, the [QDR Independent] panel was created at the behest of leaders of the congressional armed services committees with the goal of providing a counterweight to the QDR, which is run entirely by the Defense Department. The independent panel’s legislative mandate is to “conduct an assessment of the assumptions, strategy, findings, and risks in the report of the Secretary of Defense on the 2009 QDR, with particular attention paid to the risks described in that report.”

This focus on risks reveals the principal motivation of the armed services committees in establishing the panel: to highlight the dangers of reducing or stabilizing the defense budget. Pentagon officials have said that, for initial planning purposes, the QDR should assume that the base defense budget will be essentially flat for the next five years, when accounting for inflation. Given that budgetary framework, the QDR will probably propose cuts to major defense programs. Many members of the armed services committees—regardless of party affiliation—are likely to oppose some of these proposed cuts. The committees’ hope is that the independent panel will bolster opposition to such cuts by calling them risky.

QDR Panel Stalls, Loses Warner

Colin Clark. DoD Buzz, 17 November 2009.


House-Senate conferees added eight members to the QDR panel that will be picked by congressional defense committee leaders and it looks as if Warner was uncomfortable with the additions… Mackenzie Eaglen at the conservative Heritage Institute led the push for a panel to keep its eye on the QDR — the law establishing the QDR requires such a panel but it has sometimes been ignored in the past.

Building on 2 blunders: the dubious case for counterinsurgency

Stephen M. Walt. Foreign Policy, 16 November 2009.

Editor’s Comment

Walt makes a fundamental strategic point. The Bush wars involved operational and grand strategic errors, so why institutionalize a shift in defense planning that in effect has the U.S. military prepare for more strategic errors by our leadership? Why not opt to correct the error? It is really an elemental point of strategy: Don’t compound error!

I understand how military professionals who have been ordered to take on foolish strategic missions might feel that counterinsurgency theory is an attractive way out of their tactical and operational dilemmas. But there is really no excuse for civilian leaders, including Sec Def Gates, chasing the mirage of COIN as if it were an answer for our current problems dealing with the consequences of a disastrous Bush national security strategy. Change the strategy and there will be no need for investments in COIN!

Industrial Policy Debate: Should The Pentagon Pick Winners and Losers?

Sandra I. Erwin. National Defense Magazine, November 2009.


Acquisition and R&D accounts now make up 34 percent of the defense base budget. Assuming a flat budget and growth in personnel a bit above inflation, modernization accounts 10 years from now will be down to 25 percent of the budget, according to TechAmerica estimates.

Unless the Defense Department decides to reduce the size of the force, procurement spending will continue to be squeezed, says budget analyst Steve Daggett, of the Congressional Research Service. He estimates that the average service member costs 45 percent more — including salary and benefits after adjusting for inflation — than in 2000.

Industry analyst Jim McAleese, of McAleese & Associates, says he is certain that the Obama administration has effectively flat-lined defense spending for the foreseeable future. But many major decisions have yet to be made regarding how money will be allocated within a flat budget.

“I would caution you to really pay attention to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ vision,” McAleese says in an interview with Federal News Radio. “I believe he is fundamentally using the QDR [quadrennial defense review] to put the finishing touches on his legacy. Gates wants to “optimize” the Army for long-duration counterinsurgencies, he says. “The priority in the Army will be investing in a world-class quality combat force, that is well-supported, and that the soldiers’ families are well-supported.” The upshot is that many of the expensive weapons systems that the services have been accustomed to buying will no longer be affordable.