QDR: 'Adjustments, Arrangements to Protect Americans,' Rumsfeld Says
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2006 Just as the fall of the Soviet Union led to changes in how the U.S. military is organized and operates, the post-Sept. 11 world requires continuation of that process, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here yesterday.
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (right) and Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answer questions during a Pentagon press briefing Feb. 1, 2006. Rumsfeld and Giambastiani talked to reporters about the pending Quadrennial Defense Review and the continued global war on terrorism. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley, USN
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld and Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave reporters some context in advance of next week's anticipated delivery of the Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress.
"More than a decade has passed since the Cold War ended and the Soviet empire went, as was once predicted, into the ash heap of history," Rumsfeld said. "During that long struggle, the U.S. armed forces, and those of our friends and allies, had to adopt new ways of thinking. Today, in a different world with new and unpredictable enemies, the task again is to make the appropriate adjustments and arrangements needed to protect the American people."
Rumsfeld emphasized that the priorities laid forth in the upcoming QDR report reflect a continuing process. "The QDR team -- the civilians and senior civilians and military in the department -- recognize that the department must continue to change," he said.
People shouldn't look at QDR as a standalone document, measured by programs or budgets. "Rather, it's best understood as a waypoint along a continuum of change that began some years past and will continue for some years hence," Rumsfeld said.
The QDR conducted over the past year, the secretary told reporters, focused on four specific priorities:
- Defeating violent extremists;
- Defending the homeland;
- Helping countries at strategic crossroads; and
- Preventing terrorists and dangerous regimes from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.
"This is the first such assessment conducted during a time of war, a war that is perhaps unprecedented in its complexity," Rumsfeld said. "It builds on several years of momentous change and on the lessons learned during the past four years of the global war on terror, peacekeeping operations, and yes, also several important humanitarian-relief activities.
"These experiences," he continued, "highlighted the importance of building the capacity of partner states, other nations, friendly nations that are willing to help, and recognizing potential threats early and taking prompt measures to prevent problems from becoming conflicts or crises."
The QDR paid particular attention, he said, to giving military commanders greater flexibility "so that they can employ a full range of capabilities in this new era of surprise."
Giambastiani said the QDR lays the groundwork for addressing security challenges of what he called "a very uncertain future."
"It provides a chance to reflect on what we have accomplished and where we need to go," the admiral said. "The QDR is ... a vector for the future of the joint force. It has both direction and magnitude."
Previous QDRs - all conducted before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, focused on traditional threats posed by large, institutional forces, Giambastiani said. "We are now talking about irregular, disruptive and catastrophic threats. ... "We're talking about, in the future, larger operational capabilities, from conventional to irregular or asymmetric operations."
The admiral said DoD's fiscal 2007 budget request - also scheduled for delivery to Congress next week - includes "a considerable down payment" on those capabilities, which include:
- Accelerating the Army's effort to create a more modular and deployable set of units and headquarters;
- Significantly increasing special operations forces with contributions from all of the services;
- Orienting joint air capabilities to favor increased range and persistence, larger and more flexible payloads for surveillance or strike, and the ability to penetrate and sustained operations in denied areas;
- Building joint maritime forces that are most capable of projecting power in the brown and green waters of the coastal areas;
- Tailoring deterrence capabilities to a wider range of potential threats from a wider menu of military options; and
- Making significant investments in joint mobility, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and combating weapons of mass destruction.