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QDR Important for Many Reasons, Vice Chairman Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2006 – The Quadrennial Defense Review is not a glossy book that will gather dust on a bookshelf, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

At a seminar titled "Implementing the QDR," sponsored by the National Defense University here, Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani gave a number of reasons why the document is important.

Giambastiani noted that some pundits call the QDR a paperwork exercise, one that just allows DoD to check a box. But the review is a living document that charts the way ahead for the department, he said. It gives civilian and military members of DoD a roadmap to follow to reach capabilities the military needs in years ahead.

The admiral said this review is based on a solid foundation, derived directly from the National Defense Strategy. Because it was released in February, along with the president's budget request, there is adequate time for analysis. This was a luxury that the 1997 and 2001 reviews did not have, Giambastiani said.

Discussions of capabilities were more focused in this effort than in previous iterations, allowing civilian and military leaders to concentrate on where the United States could take risks.

"If you can spend more executive time, intellectual time, thinking about where you ought to take risk, you have a much more powerful underpinning and understanding of where you are going with these strategies," Giambastiani said.

This review also incorporates lessons learned from ongoing operations. The services have always had a good tactical program for lessons learned, but now they have built a similar program for operational and strategic lessons learned, Giambastiani said.

"You need a dynamic learning experience as opposed to a static post-mortem," he said. "This is real-world transformation. We took lessons out of combat operations, post-combat operations, what we're doing in security, stability and reconstruction."

The urgency of being at war also serves to focus attention on changes needed, he noted. The process itself educated key leaders on strategy and the facts, Giambastiani said. "It is a large-scale information and analysis effort," he said. "You assess yourself as you move along."

Finally, he said, the same team that put the review together is now directly in the implementation phase. DoD leaders are putting budgets and programs together in accordance with the review.

"If you think all of us spent all that time working on this and are now just going to go three sheets into the wind in different directions you, are mistaken," he said.

Contact Author

Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, USN

Related Sites:
Quadrennial Defense Review

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