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Quadrennial Review a 'Snapshot,' Not a Revelation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2006 – The Quadrennial Defense Review being released Feb. 6 is not some new revelation. Rather, it is a snapshot of where the Defense Department is as it transforms to meet new threats, officials said recently.

The review, released in conjunction with the president's fiscal 2007 defense budget request, combines lessons learned in the war on terrorism and tests them against the national security and strategy strategies, officials said on background.

The document reflects the thinking of senior civilian and military leaders in the Pentagon and of combatant commanders around the world. The review takes into account the changing enemies confronting the United States and its interests. It also looks at ways the department has been transforming and examining if the changes are sufficient to counter the unknown.

The shadowy networks of extremists are the main threat confronting the United States in the coming years. For years, the U.S. military was singularly focused on confronting the Soviet Union. Now, instead of single-focused threats, multiple, complex challenges will require DoD to cooperate with other government agencies and foreign allies.

These new threats are not other nations, but networks that could be operating in friendly countries or even in the United States itself, officials said. Helping other nations develop capabilities to control and police their own territories will be key to the American military strategy in the 21st century. To that end, conventional U.S. military forces will take on more of a training mission for foreign militaries in the years ahead.

Officials said the review recommends special operations forces -- Army Special Forces, Navy Seal teams and Air Force special operations squadrons -- increase in the years ahead. It also validates plans to incorporate 2,600 Marines into U.S. Special Operations Command for the first time.

All of this also must be viewed in conjunction with changes in basing. While forward basing will remain important, officials said, the number of U.S. forces based overseas will decline. Instead, forces will deploy from the United States and use "reach-back" capabilities that reduce the footprint in a country.

Forces also will continue to strive for joint integration. The armed services are truly interdependent now, officials said, but much more remains to be done. This includes providing communications among units and better, more focused intelligence.

Defense leaders hope that "stakeholders" in the process -- especially Congress -- can use the review to help chart the course for the department in the future.

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