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Defense Department Prepares Quadrennial Defense Review

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Selby
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2009 – Defense Department officials are preparing a far-ranging report on current and future goals as part of a congressional mandate.

“It’s really the mother of all reports to Congress,” Amanda Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, said of the Quadrennial Defense Review in a “DoDLive” bloggers roundtable yesterday.

Secretaries of defense have seized the reporting requirement “as an opportunity to articulate their vision for the department and to use it as a decision-making opportunity,” Dory said.

Every four years since 1996, the QDR has outlined the department’s institutional vision for all elements of its operations.

Dory said law requires the Defense Department to look 20 years into the future when evaluating the security environment to consider what capabilities it might need to address the challenges it would face.

“A second substantive element of the QDR is a national defense strategy that will explore what our strategic ends are, the ways we will endeavor to achieve those ends, and then the means we have available to pursue those,” Dory said.

Another key element of the report is how the department measures its required activity in response to “presidential tasking,” Dory told the bloggers. “That’s a key force-planning and force-sizing determination.”

The QDR has a major impact on troops on the ground, Dory said, because Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has placed special emphasis on making the department more responsive to meeting their current needs.

“It may seem that a congressional report would be a bit esoteric and not relevant to the troops on the ground,” she said. “But what makes it relevant to the troops on the ground really is the secretary’s injunction to the department that what we need to do is focus on succeeding in the conflicts that we’re in.”

The report also has implications in terms of the way the department uses its resources, Dory said. “It has implications in terms of how we relate to our interagency partners, how our allies and friends see us in the world, and how our potential adversaries see us,” she said.

The report is due to Congress in February.

(Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Selby works in the Defense Media Activity’s emerging media directorate.)

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