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QDR: Blueprint to Military Transformation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2001 – If you read the newspapers or watch television you are hearing a lot about the Quadrennial Defense Review. What exactly is this QDR and how does it affect service members?

The QDR is the vehicle DoD will use to transform the American military. Defense leaders will use the information generated by the QDR to shape the budgets. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has sped up work on the 2002 QDR so officials can use the information generated by the massive study in building the fiscal 2003 DoD budget request.

In short, the QDR process will address U.S. strategy, force structure and efficient resource management for the long term.

The QDR as it is configured is a new creation. This is only the second time DoD has gone through the operation, but there have been similar studies before. During the first Bush Administration there was a review of the military that resulted in the "Base Force." In 1993, then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin ordered a "Bottom-up Review." Both these studies tried to envision the U.S. military as it confronted a post-Cold War world. From these came the two major regional contingencies model the services use as a force-shaping structure. The Military Force Structure Act of 1996 ordered the first QDR and the Fiscal 2000 National Defense Authorization Act made the requirement permanent.

Planning for the QDR in progress began last year. Service, DoD, Joint Staff and Joint Command officials began putting together the information used in the QDR analysis. The process slowed a bit while the Bush administration formed. The president charged Rumsfeld to conduct a strategic review of the Defense Department. The review is finished and the secretary used the information from the reviews to set the terms of reference for the QDR.

The final QDR product is due to Congress by Sept. 30, 2001. The next QDR will be conducted in 2005.


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