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Rumsfeld Orders Quadrennial Defense Review Speed up

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2001 – At the heart of the Quadrennial Defense Review is the need to have "a strategy-driven budget rather than a budget-driven strategy," a senior DoD civilian official said June 14.

But the review, as originally scheduled, would not have been finished in time to use the results in forming the fiscal 2003 defense budget so Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered the services to speed up the process.

The official said the services should have preliminary QDR guidance by the end of July. He said the "forced-march pace" is necessary and doable. A senior military official said the new deadline will be met, "but there will be a lot of late nights in the Pentagon."

The speed-up will still allow time for recommendations from Rumsfeld's independent review of DoD to be included, the civilian official said.

He said the department currently is working on three budgets: the fiscal 2001 supplemental, the fiscal 2002 budget amendment and the fiscal 2003 budget plan. "Along with the '03 budget, of course, comes the (future year's defense program) for the following years," he said. The secretary's goal, he continued, is "to have a budget for '03 and the years beyond that is driven by strategy and a strategy that's reflected in the QDR."

He said the secretary has issued guidance on what the QDR should look for. These include what U.S. defense strategy objectives should be, what the priority capabilities are, and desired characteristics that Rumsfeld would like to see in the force. The official said the current underpinning of force structure -- two near-simultaneous major regional conflicts -- is also being examined. The QDR will look at force structure as well as the tasks the country will ask the military to be ready to perform.

"What is the rate of change or the rate of transformation that we want to see in the force?" the official said. "Transformation is obviously a very important part of what we're trying to achieve here, but at the same time, you don't transform an establishment of this size overnight. In fact, it would be rather imprudent, given the number of things it has to do in the near-term, to try to transform it all at once. So what is the rate of change that is desirable?"

A part of this evaluation is to apply acceptable risk to U.S. strategy, he said. "I think one of the major things that emerged from the secretary's discussions with the chiefs and service secretaries is the need to view risk in a wider range," he said. "It's also, for example, very important to measure the risks of this force that we're building for the next decade being able to meet the missions of the next decade -- and we don't know what those missions are going to be.

"We can't predict the future very well except we have some idea of the general shape of it," he continued. "We need to try to find a way to measure the risk of the future, and we can't do it against the war plan. We don't have a war plan for the contingencies we might face in 2010 or 2015. We've got to find some other ways of measuring the risk."

Another risk factor concerns people. Failure to meet the military's immediate needs adequately increases the risk of losing people, he said. "It's ... probably best measured in terms of the strain on people. It's a very important measure of risk that isn't captured by our ability to hopefully win another Desert Storm, if we have to fight one."

While the QDR will be strategy-driven, senior leaders are pragmatic. If the review recommends a huge budget increase, that does not mean the defense budget will get one. "I mean, when we say (the QDR) is strategy-driven, not budget-driven, I mean obviously at the end of the day you present this to the president with a strategy and a budget, and if he says, 'Well, wait a minute, this is more strategy than I'm prepared to pay for,' then you have to say, 'Well, what's the strategy you are prepared to pay for?'"

Defense officials said the preliminary guidance will not be made public in July. The full QDR report will be delivered to Congress by Sept. 30.

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Related Sites:
DoD News Briefing: Background Briefing on the Quadrennial Defense Review, June 14, 2001


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