Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today issued a
comprehensive assessment of the nation's defense requirements,
based on emerging threats to U.S. security over the next two
decades and a strategy that maintains American leadership,
engagement and military superiority into the 21st century. He
also called for a bipartisan commitment to stable defense
spending and increased modernization.
Cohen sent to Congress the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR),
a six-month analysis of the threats, risks and opportunities for
U.S. national security. The QDR reviewed all aspects of the
U.S. defense strategy and program, including force structure,
infrastructure, readiness, intelligence, modernization and
people. The review was a collaborative effort involving the
Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, military
services, and unified commands.
The time has come to step into the future, to look at the
world ahead and ask, what will America's role be? What type of
military do we need for the 21st Century? said Cohen. The QDR
calls for a defense strategy that balances continued American
engagement today with a focused modernization effort to meet
To promote and protect U.S. interests, the QDR strategy has
three main elements: first, the ability to shape the
international environment by promoting regional stability,
preventing or reducing conflicts and threats, and deterring
aggression and coercion on a day-to-day basis in key regions of
the world; second, the need to respond quickly to the full
spectrum of crises, from conducting concurrent smaller-scale
contingency operations to fighting and winning two major theater
wars; and, third, the mandate to prepare now to meet the security
challenges of an unpredictable future and discourage prospective
rivals from embarking on a military competition with the U.S.
This strategy was the conceptual foundation of the review and the
QDR programmatic decisions.
Implementing the strategy will require quality people,
ready forces and superior organization, doctrine and technology,
according to the review. The QDR recommends modest cuts in
personnel strength and weapons programs. These prudent
reductions, along with systemic improvements in the
infrastructure, will allow the U.S. military to meet the near-
term requirements of shaping and responding, and long-term
modernization to prepare for the future, ending the procurement
holiday of recent years. The QDR assumes that defense spending
will remain relatively constant in the future.
As part of the restructuring of the force, the total active
duty end strength will be reduced from the previously planned
level of 1.42 million to 1.36 million. The Reserve forces will
decline to 835,000 from 890,000, and the civilian force will fall
to 640,000 from 720,000. The major force structure and
modernization decisions include:
Army: Accelerates Force XXI modernization plan; retains
10 active, combat-ready divisions; reduces the force by 15,000
active duty personnel by deactivation, consolidation and
realignment of headquarters and support facilities; and reduces
its Reserve component by 45,000 through restructuring,
deactivation, and conversion.
Navy: Retains 12 carrier battle groups and 12 amphibious
ready groups; reduces surface combatants in the fleet from 128 to
116; reduces attack submarines from 73 to 50; increases the
Navy's planned Joint Strike Fighter buy to 480 aircraft; reduces
the planned F/A-18E/F buy from 1,000 to between 548 and 785;
reduces active duty personnel by 18,000; and reduces Reserve
component by 4,100 personnel.
Air Force: Shifts one fighter wing from active to
reserve component (total force becomes 12 active and 8 reserve
wings); consolidates fighter and bomber units; reduces force
structure for continental air defense; reduces active duty
personnel by 27,000; and reduces planned F-22 procurement from
438 to 339.
Marine Corps: Maintains 3 Marine Expeditionary Force
capability; restructures support responsibilities; and
accelerates MV-22 procurement while reducing buy to 360.
Missile Defense: Retains National Missile Defense as high
priority, adding $2B to its development; and slows THAAD theater
missile defense program due to technical problems.
Nuclear Forces: Maintains current START I force
structure. After Russian Duma ratification, will reduce to START
II levels and negotiate further reductions following the START
Infrastructure: Requests authority from Congress for two
rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), including a
consolidation of laboratories and research, development and test
facilities; seeks additional outsourcing and opportunities to
reengineer DoD business practices; and calls for broad
infrastructure deregulation to permit more efficient operations.
C4ISR: Maintains current focus on command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and
The Department reaffirms its commitment to achieving a $60
billion procurement program. This increased investment in
modernization will exploit the revolution in military affairs and
provide the military with cutting-edge technology to dominate
tomorrow's battlefield. Accelerating the integration of future
technology into the force is a cornerstone of Joint Vision 2010,
the Chairman's template for joint technologies and operations in
the 21st century.
We need to cut our support tail in order to preserve our
combat tooth and protect our people and their quality of life,
Secretary Cohen said. Our infrastructure is still too large for
our force structure today. Our purchasing system is still too
cumbersome, slow and expensive. We still do too many things in-
house that we can do better and cheaper through outsourcing.
In addition to the actions proposed by the QDR, Secretary
Cohen recently established a Defense Reform Task Force to review
the Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD agencies and field
activities, and the military departments. Its purpose is to find
ways to consolidate functions, eliminate duplication of effort
and improve efficiency within the Department. This initiative
was based on requirements identified during the QDR. The Task
Force will work with the National Defense Panel, which will
review the QDR, and report to Congress at the end of the year.
NOTE: A copy of the QDR report and related materials are
available in the
section of DefenseLINK.