QDR Provides Vectors for Defense Transformation
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2006 Plans for transforming the defense structure for the future aren't based on numbers, but rather, capabilities, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told civilian leaders who visited the Pentagon today to hear about the status of the U.S. military and ongoing operations.
Rumsfeld and other military and defense leaders updated alumni of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference on military missions around the world, including the global war on terror and efforts under way to help transform the military to better confront the challenges it will face in the future.
One major aspect of that transformation, the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, will provide important vectors that help the Defense Department shape itself for the next four years and into the next decades, the secretary told the group. The report is slated to be delivered to Congress Feb. 6.
In a major shift from traditional thinking, the QDR will focus on capabilities rather than quantities, Rumsfeld said. "We're thinking about the 21st century in a way that's different from the 20th century," he said.
"There's a tendency for us to want to count things," Rumsfeld said. But that tells just part of the story because weapons have become more powerful and precise and the military has adopted new ways of operating that improve efficiency, he added.
Earlier in the day, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, assistant to Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the group the QDR will help DoD reorient its capabilities so it can better protect the United States and its interests. "That's what we focus on," Odierno said.
The QDR will also reflect the fact that traditional war models simply don't work when confronting terrorism, Rumsfeld told the group. No longer is the U.S. military facing off against big armies, navies and air forces, but rather, extremists who don't represent any particular nation.
"We are trying to figure out how you conduct a war against something other than a nation-state and how ... you conduct a war in countries that you are not at war with," Rumsfeld said.
Similarly, the QDR will help DoD improve its intelligence capabilities so it's better able to find and capture or kill terrorists plotting to kill Americans and U.S. friends and allies, he said.
While the QDR will reflect different capabilities needed throughout the military to better confront terrorism, Odierno said it will also recognize the need to maintain readiness for a conventional war. "So we have to have what we consider full spectrum," he said. "We have to be able to conduct that major warfare if we have to against a regular conventional army, but we also must be able to defeat these non-state terrorist actors. And so we have to adjust."
These challenges place strong demands on the military, and the QDR will help ensure servicemembers are trained, equipped and prepared at all levels to face them, Odierno said. "We have to be agile. We have to be responsive. We have to be adaptive with our military capabilities," he said. "We have to be able to move quickly and destroy our enemy quickly. And that's where we will focus."
The upcoming QDR will build on recommendations of the past two QDRs, in 1997 and 2001, Odierno told the JCOC participants.
The group members represented a "who's who" of civilian business owners, chief executive officers, educators, local politicians and civic leaders who have participated in Joint Civilian Orientation Conference program. DoD established the program in 1948 to introduce civilian "movers and shakers" with little or no military exposure to the workings of the armed forces so they can share their experiences with their community and business associates.