United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

Transcript


Background Briefing on the Quadrennial Defense Review

Presenter: Senior Defense Official
June 14, 2001 1:30 PM EDT

Thursday, June 14, 2001 - 1:30 p.m.

(Background briefing by a senior Defense official and a senior military official on the status of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).)

Senior Defense Official: Good afternoon. I have to give credit to Torie Clarke for pushing us with the idea that people might actually be interested in what we're working on here and try to give you some background on what we're doing with the Quadrennial Defense Review, or QDR, as I will refer to it from now on. Let me give you a little bit of context first before I describe the process and roughly where it stands now.

Last month we completed a range of studies on key defense topics including morale, transformation, conventional forces, nuclear forces, missile defense. And these studies provide important inputs for developing a new strategic approach to inform our defense planning.

Over this month, roughly, time span, we're working essentially on three budgets simultaneously, three annual budgets in one time frame.

We have the FY '01 supplemental, which we put to bed at the end of last month, and which is up on the Hill now, which we hope will be completed by the end of June. It meets unfunded critical and emergency requirements for the current fiscal year; i.e., for the last quarter of '01.

At the same time, we are now working on preparing the FY '02 amended budget, which is really the first step toward getting well in terms of morale, quality of life, and readiness. The '02 budget we anticipate will also lay out some of the signposts for transformation in critical areas such as missile defense, space, intelligence, and transformation of our strategic forces.

And the third piece, which is really what the QDR pertains to, is the FY '03 budget, which the services really need to begin preparing starting mid-summer. Along with the '03 budget, of course, comes the FYDP [future years defense program] for the following years. And the goal of what the secretary has been engaged in the last few weeks on the QDR is to try to have a budget for '03 and the years beyond that is driven by strategy and a strategy that's reflected in the QDR. In fact, I would say the fundamental objective here is to get a strategy-driven budget rather than a budget-driven strategy.

The QDR -- the statutory deadline for the QDR is the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30th. And I guess -- I'm not sure exactly the process that produced the legislation, but it did seem to us, as we started thinking through the QDR process and the '03 budget, that the calendars were out of sync; that if you didn't complete the QDR until the end of September, basically the services would have none of the strategy to guide the preparation of the '03 budget since a lot of that preparation has got to be done by the end of September in order to meet a budget submission by early next year.

I think it always boggles even my mind how long it takes to crank out the paperwork and the analysis that backs up a budget, but you can imagine, with a budget the size of ours, it's not something you just turn around overnight.

So the services really need their guidance for the programs that the secretary wants them to have in the '03 budget; really needs to have some pretty clear guidance on that mid-summer, I would say by the end of July. And as the secretary recognized that and realized that the QDR product therefore wasn't going to come in on time, he thought about how can we accelerate the QDR so that we at least get a pretty solid preliminary product in time to give the services some real guidance in preparing their POMs [program objective memoranda].

And he was basically thinking out loud in a tank session with the chiefs about this issue and, as they talked more and more, he started to put on the table -- and he had not been -- this was not in his talking points. In fact, after we left the meeting, he said, "Did I get it right?" I mean, were we on the right track, because he really had been thinking out loud, almost. But what it produced was a decision, an agreement with the chiefs that we would start working on a forced-march pace to produce a preliminary QDR by middle to end of July and if that was going to be accomplished, that the assumptions going in at the front end of that process had to be reasonably well-formulated.

There isn't time in that short time span to tell the bureaucracy, the military bureaucracy or the OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] bureaucracy, "Just go out and blue-sky it and tell me what, you know, grand strategic alternatives you want to look at and come back in and then we'll reexamine it." It's really got to have some pretty focusing assumptions at the front end. And that's what he and the chiefs agreed to do, and I think what it's produced is already, just in terms of process, pretty extraordinary.

I've participated in at least four serious overall looks at defense strategy under three different presidents and I guess any number of secretaries of Defense, including, I think, the extremely important and successful strategy review that Secretary Cheney conducted here 10 years ago that produced the regional defense strategy and the base force. But I've never seen in any of those experiences, and I don't think I've heard from anyone else in any other experience, that going into it there was as much senior-level time spent in discussing the assumptions that should guide the analysis that will be done by lower levels in the department. Not much lower, by the way. We're still talking about pretty senior people doing the work. But over the past two weeks the secretary has had 16 hours of meetings over 13 days with the senior military and civilian leadership as well as one included in that, I think, is a half a day on a Saturday where all of the CINCs [commanders in chief] were brought in. And again to underscore the unusual character of these meetings, it's been every service chief, the chairman, the vice chairman, all the service secretaries, the confirmed under secretaries, and with very few exceptions no one else. There are no staffs sitting about the back room taking notes, making -- inhibiting people -- and it's led to very, very frank discussions and, I think, a lot of much -- much greater clarity about what people think and what they disagree with. And in numerous occasions the secretary's gotten the benefit of direct written advice from both his civilian and military advisers. And these inputs are being incorporated into a terms of reference that we're drafting as guides to the people doing the analysis.

I'm going to mention "terms of reference" several times. I think it may be a sort of inside-the-bureaucracy term, but just to clarify it if it needs clarifying, it's a document that's getting a lot of work, but it's not the final conclusions of the QDR, it is a framework within which we want the analysis to proceed to reach conclusions so that, as I said earlier, it doesn't become a completely open-ended exercise where anybody's answer is of equal validity. But at the same time we don't want something where there's no room for analysis at all.

It is the framework within which we want the analysis to proceed to reach conclusions, so that, as I said earlier, it doesn't become a completely open-ended exercise where anybody's answer is of equal validity, but at the same time, we don't want something where there's no room for analysis at all. There has to be.

We're trying to tackle, consequently, some of the hard issues up front, such as what our defense strategy objectives should be what are the priority capabilities and desired characteristics that the secretary of Defense would like to see in the force. I mean, take that as a for-instance. Without some guidance at the front end, you could end up getting everyone's pet rock appearing somewhere in the budget, and this is meant to identify those rocks that the senior leadership of the department believes are most important to get priority. But there is obviously going to be a lot of work coming out at the end of the process, with further definition and analysis.

Trying to tackle the question of how our forces should be sized and shaped and how they are -- what tasks we want them to be ready for; how we should handle risks, which may be, in a way, the most important question. I'm going to come back to that at the end, here. And what is the rate of change, or the rate of transformation that we want to see in the force? 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?

So we're working how to provide up-front guidance and, in the terms of reference that will provide that strategic framework, focus the analysis on the key issues. And the bottom line is that the terms of reference, we think, will ensure that the QDR is, indeed, strategy-driven.

We're going to -- I think it's the -- the four overriding defense strategy objectives, at least as identified so far: to assure friends and allies, number one; second, to dissuade future adversaries; third, to deter threats and counter coercion; and four, to defeat adversaries if deterrence fails.

Based on initial decisions from the QDR -- not from the terms of reference, but from the QDR which comes out, as I say, in July -- we'll give direction to services in about six to eight weeks to inform the development of their proposed defense programs and budgets, and those proposals will then be reviewed in the fall program reviews.

Let me just wrap up my remarks here with a little bit of a focus on what is perhaps the key issue, and that is how do you measure risk. It's always been, I think, within this department viewed as a sort of central measure of whether you have your strategy and resources in balance, is what is the level of risk you're left with. And I think if you read the legislation that established the QDR as a legal practice, which was enacted when -- 1995? (To staff) Do you know somebody? (Returning) It's about five years old.

Staff: (Off mike.)

Senior Defense Official: Pardon?

Staff: (Off mike.)

Senior Defense Official: But the original QDR legislation.

Staff: The original legislation was in '95.

Senior Defense Official: Yeah, '95. I mean, this is only the second time we've done a formal QDR. It was required by legislation as of the mid-'90s, and this is the second time we'll do it in this formal way. And the legislation specifies risk as the sort of crucial variable with which you measure the outcome you've got.

And what -- I think, obviously, one major measure of risk is our ability to achieve our current war plan objective. We have war plans for Korea, we have war plans for Persian Gulf -- actually, we have a lot of war plans, but those are probably the principal ones. And, clearly, the ability of a plan force to meet the objectives of those war plans is one major measure of risk, but it's not the only measure of risk. And it has tended to be in the past that we see risk largely in that one dimension.

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, not that that measure of risk isn't important, but 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. As those of you who were with the secretary in NATO know, he went through a series of failures to predict, including the failure in the '30s to predict World War II. I mean, the whole last century is littered with failures of prediction. I would say every century is probably littered with such failures.

When Secretary Cheney testified -- excuse me -- then-Congressman Cheney testified in his confirmation hearings, 12 years ago, to be secretary of Defense, the word "Iraq" wasn't mentioned once.

That was in 1989. And he -- (laughs) -- we actually attempted to go scrub Secretary Rumsfeld's confirmation hearings to see which countries weren't mentioned in his hearings. (Laughs.) Maybe that's a predictor of where the future problems will be. But the basic point is we can't predict the future very well except we have some idea of the general shape of it. And 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. I mean, 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 in that way.

Another risk that is very important, and it flows from the fact that the force ends up being used on a day to day basis in many ways that weren't anticipated, that weren't budgeted for, but as we've been seeing now, we went into the Balkans with our allies; we'll be there with our allies. That means we're going to be in the Balkans for probably quite a long time in some form, hopefully in a well managed form. But we need to plan in our strategy for those kinds of requirements, of which there are many -- there's Northern Watch, Southern Watch; I think you could all make the list as well as I could -- and ones that may come up that aren't anticipated. And if you don't plan for those things or allow for those things in your plan, one of the things that happens is that, particularly for those units that are what the military likes to call low density-high demand assets that are needed everywhere, the crews for EP-3s, for example, find themselves deploying a very large fraction of the year, and we end up losing people out of pieces of the force, particularly those that are in highest demand. So one of the risks that you run if you don't plan adequately for the immediate needs that the military has to meet is really the risk of losing people. It's, I think, a risk probably best measured in terms of the strain on people. But it's a very important measure of risk that isn't captured by our ability to win or lose or -- hopefully our ability to win another Desert Storm, if we have to fight one.

And a third dimension of risk that concerns the secretary, particularly from his private sector background, is the risk of inefficiency, the risk that we run by mismanaging resources, the risks we run by having -- taking 20 years to develop programs to meet threats that evolve every two or three years. Particularly in the area of information warfare, the point has been made that the first hacking tools were posted on the Internet, I think in 1999. And then there were three different -- three generations posted in the subsequent two years, and we go through one major budget cycle in two years. I mean, we're not inside the turning radius of a lot of the threats that we face out there.

So that's an inefficiency that ultimately has a real military risk attached to it.

So we're trying to come up -- direct the people doing the QDR to measure risk in a more multidimensional way, and I think that's going to be one of the most significant, if we can pull it off. Obviously, it's a challenge. It will be one of the most, I think, significant innovations in defense planning in a long time.

The goal is to ensure the ability of our armed forces to provide a peaceful world that we're enjoying today, by and large, and we want our children and grandchildren to continue enjoying.

Let me turn it over briefly to one of my military colleagues, who will give you a little bit of his perspective on it. Then we have time for a few questions. I did not mean to filibuster here. Come on up.

Senior Military Official: Thank you, sir.

The legislation requiring the Quadrennial Defense Review directs that it will be conducted under the leadership of the secretary of Defense. As such, we in the military are in a supporting role. And we've done that, and we'll continue to do that through two processes that are ongoing right now.

First, the drafting of the terms of reference, as my civilian colleague has highlighted -- that's ongoing. And the uniformed services have been full participants in that, in advising the secretary.

The second role will be to participate and give military advice, uniformed advice, to a series of project teams which will be and are being stood up to answer the specified tasks and carry out the direction contained in the terms of reference.

As my civilian colleague has said, the secretary of Defense has been leading personally a series of what I would call lively and very informed and useful discussions with the senior leadership -- senior military leadership in the building over the last two and a half weeks. And probably the most remarkable thing about that set of discussions, because I was here during the bottom-up review and during the last QDR, is the very specific set of topics that's been discussed by them -- first, the national security environment; defense strategy objectives, what should they be and how to enumerate them; force planning considerations or a force sizing construct for that strategy; and then risk -- as we just stated, the risk definition and the ranges of those risks.

Finally, I think I could speak for all my colleagues in uniform and say that we are extremely gratified to see that this Quadrennial Defense Review will be based on a thorough discussion of defense strategy, and in the end, our goal will be to ensure that that strategy is matched by the force structure which we operate in.

Thank you, sir.

Senior Defense Official: Thank you. We'd be glad to take some questions, and none on Vieques; it's a waste of everyone's time.

Q: Well, we all want to know about Vieques.

Senior Defense Official: I have to go up to the Hill and meet with some people up there, and until I've done --

Q: (Off mike) -- the American public.

Senior Defense Official: Well, you'll get a chance, but this is to talk about QDR, and it's just not fair to other people.

Yes, sir?

Q: It sounded like, from your remarks, that the two-war strategy is not sufficient to what you want to do. Are you discarding that? Have you decided on what its replacement is going to be?

Senior Defense Official: It's definitely an issue that's on the table. And no, I don't think we've decided even whether to discard it, or certainly what the replacement would be. But it is a central issue. It sort of underlies the whole issue of how do you define the force structure that you want to have.

Q: You haven't decided to dispose of that at this point.

Senior Defense Official: No.

Q: Is it likely to remain a centerpiece -

Senior Defense Official: And we also haven't decided to keep it, I mean, just to be clear, okay?

Q: Would you say it's likely to remain a centerpiece of strategy in forming budgets?

Senior Defense Official: No, no.

Q: Or do you have too many other threats around to build everything around that?

Senior Defense Official: I think -- let me just say this. I think the two major regional contingencies -- which were, by the way, a centerpiece of, I thought as I said, a very successful strategy review we did 10 years ago under Secretary Cheney -- tends to focus you on that one dimension of ability to carry out the war plans, the current war plans. It doesn't really at all take account of either the present requirements of the force, the Kosovos, the present missions all over the world, and only handles the future in a fairly -- I would say fairly clumsy way. It's easy to point out the defects; it's a lot harder to come up with an alternative construct. And that's one of the things we're wrestling with.

Yes, in the back.

Q: (Off mike) -- agreement on terms of reference? The way you ask the questions indicates where you're going. On force sizing, is the question "What do you need?" or is the question "How many fewer can you do the job?"

Senior Defense Official: The question is "What do you need?" It might even be "How many more do you need?" although, it really is "What do you need?" And someone abstractly upstairs asked, "Well, what happens if you come in with a, you know, "This costs $600 billion" or some enormous number. I mean, when we say it's 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?"

But we can't -- what is very unhealthy, terribly demoralizing for the armed forces and, I think, puts the country at risk is to consciously proceed for a long time pretending you're achieving certain strategy goals, stretching a force that's not designed to meet those goals, and underfunding it.

Yes, sir?

Q: You mentioned "focusing assumptions" of this QDR. What are some of those? Can you give us some specific examples of what you mean when you're talking about focusing assumptions?

Senior Defense Official: I think I meant "the" focusing -- the assumptions that focus the analysis, that say what kinds of -- for example, there's a certain amount of -- even while we say that the future is uncertain and unpredictable, which it is, and I -- I mean, when I was here the first time at the Pentagon in the late 1970s, we did a study in PA&E [Program Analysis and Evaluation] on future contingencies in the Persian Gulf, and one that we identified as a major problem was the Iraqi threat to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. And we were told pretty much by the whole establishment, "Forget about it, you guys, that's not a real threat." (Chuckles.) So I speak to some extent from a little bit of experience.

But the future is basically unpredictable in very fundamental ways, and yet we know certain things about the environment. We know that terrorists have a way of focusing on the United States. We know that people are going after ballistic missiles not only to counter -- not only sort of potentially against cities, but against our forces. It's easier to say what -- it's hard to say who might threaten us, but it's not impossible to say what might threaten us. So focusing assumptions would focus on the kinds of threats that we think are most serious and have to be attended to.

Information warfare is a really major one, and it's been one that everyone in the department agrees is important. And yet because it doesn't really quite have a home, it tends, I think, to diminish in priority. So one of -- I'm jumping ahead, but I would anticipate one of the conclusions of the QDR will be in some form to tell people to take information operations and information warfare very seriously.

Q: How about training of naval forces, how important is that?

Senior Defense Official: Very important. (Laughter.) Good way to try!

Training in general is very important, and it may be right up there as one of the most important things we do, and it not only affects our ability to fight, it affects our ability to retain people. You find that one of the things that people sign up for is sort of the excitement of military service, not sitting in barracks on their hands.

But we need to think about joint training, we need to think about use of advanced technology in training. It's a big issue.

Q: You mentioned the problem of presenting the president with a strategy that he says he's not prepared to pay for. It seems like this whole process should start with a national security strategy -- what does this administration want to do in the world. And there have been mixed signals, quite frankly, you know, on what the president's position is as far as our engagement with the world. You know, in the campaign he talked about basically withdrawing from many --

Senior Defense Official: That's not true.

Q: Well, what is your assumption going into, of what the American role in the world is as far as national security engagements?

Senior Defense Official: Well, obviously, national security strategy itself is even above the secretary's pay grade, although he's one of the senior advisors in shaping it.

Q: Well, that's why I'm saying you need that from the president before you can start your role.

Senior Defense Official: As with budget and strategy, there's an interactive process of trying to work on, from our end, trying to say what are the critical grand strategy pieces that are going to have the biggest impact on how we shape forces and getting guidance back from the president and the whole national security team. And it's not just a matter of coming up with a single document. The single documents very often tend to be, in my experience, forgive me, tend to be boilerplate. But what the president has concretely deciding about Bosnia and Kosovo is not boilerplate. It's very clear.

And he never said he wanted to withdraw from world. Forgive me, but that -- (laughs) -- other people not so friendly to him said that that was what he was doing. He's always said he wants to reduce our commitments where it's possible to do so, and one of the reasons we want to reduce our commitments where it's possible is because we see everywhere we turn serious strains on our forces from the sheer number of commitments that they have. But we're not -- I think it's -- I hope it's become clear; it should have been clear much earlier, that we're not about to pull out of the Balkans in a way that reproduces the catastrophe that got us in there in the first place.

Yes.

Q: One of the problems with evolving a strategy like this is that it can get stopped cold once it hits Capitol Hill. If you have any ideas that your force sizing has problems because of unneeded bases and structure, what happens? How are you approaching the other side of it after these reviews, and how are you expecting those --

Senior Defense Official: That's a crucial piece of this, and I think -- I mean, first of all, just in terms of simple processes, the secretary is going to be testifying before both Armed Services Committees next week in a sort of scene-setter on strategy, which I imagine will be informed a considerable degree by the terms of reference that we're wrestling with now.

And we're -- we've already been consulting closely; in fact, I think, as you've seen, the results of the various studies are now being briefed all over the Hill. That's an input the secretary has in his mind; he wants it to be in the minds of the Congress.

And going forward, I don't think it's possible to underscore strongly enough how important it is to try to achieve some degree of national bipartisan consensus on the way ahead, because nothing has been more damaging, I think, to having the kind of defense establishment the country needs and the sort of constant swings that come from changes in direction.

I think our military can do a lot better job with any given level of resources if they really know what it's going to be and they can really confidently plan and make efficiencies within it. But when it's promised to go on one slope and it ends up on another, it wreaks havoc. So that part is important. And then the other that you alluded to --

Look, there are inefficiencies. I mean, it's one of the reasons the secretary's focused on inefficiency as an issue. There are inefficiencies the department inflicts on itself, and there are inefficiencies that are inflicted on it by various other aspects of the environment, including legislative interests of various kinds. And I think what we've got to do is surface those issues, surface those inefficiencies. If the country decides that it's important enough to keep paying that kind of tax on our defense resources in order to keep bases open or to do whatever, okay. But that should be a conscious decision. What's not defensible is to pretend we've allocated so much for defense, but some large chunk of it is very inefficiently spent because of the constraints we're under.

Yes, sir.

Q: Yes, sir. Will the final decisions on specific weapons programs be made after the QDR, or will there be any guidance in the 2002 budget about where -- what direction you're going on specific programs?

Senior Defense Official: I think the specific programs or decisions have got to be guided by a strategy. I mean, for one thing, a major issue in any of them is how big is the force structure? You can't really answer how many airplanes of any kind, much less which kind of airplanes to buy, for example, until you've got some idea of the size of the force you need. So this is really -- it's another reason why it's important to try to get this guidance early and not at the end of September.

Yes, sir.

Q: What are some of the other priority threats that the assumptions focus on? And also, how does it deal with -- how does Asia figure into those focusing assumptions?

Senior Defense Official: I'd rather not try to get into more specificity on what are the priorities of threats, because I'm really jumping -- I hope the secretary in his testimony next week will be comfortable enough with what's come out to say in more definition. But, I mean, we're going to have another discussion with the chiefs, for example, this afternoon. (Laughs.) I don't want to make decisions down here. So allow me a little flexibility on that.

On the question of Asia, it's -- I mean, there's been, I think, a fair amount written even before we got into the QDR about shifts to Asia and so forth. And I -- as somebody who was once assistant secretary of State for East Asia and considers it -- and ambassador to Indonesia and I consider it a very important part of the world, I nevertheless find those stories kind of disturbing because it suggests somehow Europe isn't important. Europe remains critically important. The military requirements for Europe are different from the military requirements for Asia.

And by and large, our force has been shaped more toward Europe over the last 40, 50 years, because that was really the central stage of the Cold War. Then it was shaped for Asia. So there are issues that are raised as you think about Asia that are different from the issues that are raised as you think about Europe.

But I think -- again, I don't want to get ahead of the conclusion, but I'll just say personally I think both of those regions are absolutely critical regions of the world for the United States. Both of those regions have produced world wars from the mismanagement of affairs. And they are sources of major potential power, and I think we have huge interests in both, and we need a defense posture that can deal with both.

Who have I not called yet? I think you --

Q: You're talking about getting some sort of consensus or cooperation on the Hill. One step further; none of the activities or missions that the U.S. military's engaged in since Desert Storm have been done without the cooperation of some of our allies. Is there any input or participation down the line from countries other than the United States on this?

Senior Defense Official: The role of allies is a major factor in our planning assumptions and in our analyses, and we're in constant discussion with allies. The secretary just -- and friends. The secretary just met a few hours ago with the prime minister of Singapore. They're not an ally, but they're actually a linchpin of what we're now doing in Southeast Asia.

We're in constant -- I met yesterday with the foreign minister of Korea. We're in constant discussion. The president, of course, is in Europe. The secretary's just come back from Europe. So we're constantly getting input from allies and exchanging views with allies, but they are not in any way formally a part of this process, and never have been formally. I distinguish between "formally part of the process" and "very intensive knowledge of their views and their concerns."

Yes, sir?

Q: There are a variety of budget realities out there that I assume must enter into this process somewhere, somehow. And I'd just ask you to comment on a couple of the more important ones. As a candidate, President Bush cited some very specific figures of what he imagined investment -- new investments in defense would be, and I'm wondering whether those are still valid. The chiefs last year presented some very specific numbers to Congress in terms of what they expected they needed in order to take care of modernization of the current programs, and I'm wondering whether those numbers are on the table. And lastly, to what extent are you getting guidance from OMB as to how much money is actually available in '03, in the out years, beyond what's currently in the FYDP?

Senior Defense Official: Well, those numbers as numbers aren't on the table, because the whole idea is to re-look at numbers like those and to, within the framework of new guidance about what the strategy is supposed to achieve, come up with recommendations about what the modernization bill really is.

I mean, it depends -- for example, as I said earlier, the number of aircraft you buy depends on the force structure. The type of aircraft you buy depends on how you define your strategic objectives. So certainly -- well, the numbers the president has given, which are specific numbers, for example, our research and development, those will be in the budget; I guarantee you they are already. But what will be in the QDR, among other things, are the kinds of general directions that he's already indicated he wants us pursuing, and with some greater specificity, quite a bit greater specificity from this process.

And on the final --

Q: (Off mike) --

Senior Defense Official: Pardon?

Q: As a candidate, President Bush spoke of a $50 billion increase. Is that still the margin you're working in?

Senior Defense Official: He spoke specifically about increases for research and development, increases for pay. Whatever else we do, those increases will be incorporated. But that's not the -- he didn't say $50 billion and no more, and he didn't say there's nothing in the current program I wouldn't cut. I mean, he -- that $50 billion figure, by the way, wasn't his, it was what other people got by adding together the various pieces of things he committed to doing, and those pieces will get done. But we need to look at what we're doing already, and we need to look at things beyond that.

I think you, and then one more question, because I'm --

Q: Will any of the data or conclusions gained during the Dynamic Commitment war games series, which was run under the last administration, be used for this QDR?

Senior Defense Official: I think I'll let my colleague try that one.

Senior Military Official: We have offered the Dynamic Commitment database to the secretary, and I'm sure that he'll use it or use parts of it as he sees fit.

Senior Defense Official: And last one. I don't think I got you yet, did I?

Q: I guess I'm a little confused about where the major reviews fit into the QDR. The --

Senior Defense Official: The studies, you mean?

Q: I'm sorry, yes, the studies. I understand the programming ones are going on, and the QDR will drive, you know, how many planes, ships you buy, whatever. But this major review, the Andy Marshall kind of review, how does that fit into it? And is there going to be a time where results of that will be made public to the press?

Senior Defense Official: On the last question, I think the Marshall study remains classified. But it was grand strategy in the sense of being as the secretary sometimes says, at 30,000 feet and pointing some very, very important directions. And I think particularly as the QDR starts to push in the direction of future capabilities, some of that is already coming out of Marshall study.

A number of these other studies, quite a few of which I think have now in fact been released -- obviously, what Admiral Jeremiah reported on in terms of morale -- is affecting, to begin with, what I mentioned about the people risk or the way we manage the force on a day-to-day basis. That's one of the issues that he identified.

But the purpose of all those studies, including the Marshall strategy review, was to inform the secretary's thinking and hopefully other people's thinking and push issues up, and they are inputs of a, I guess I would say, helpful but non-authoritative kind.

The terms of reference for the QDR are going to be authoritative. This is going to be the secretary's official guidance to the uniformed and civilian staff as to what he wants out at the end of the QDR. And of course the QDR itself is his product. I mean, they write drafts, he reviews them, and he'll be free to change those, but this is really the first thing that is authoritatively his and not just somebody's study.

Q: Well, when do you expect to be able to release the terms of reference?

Senior Defense Official: I can't even tell you for sure whether we will be able to release them. But I would think a lot of the content of what's in them will appear in some form already when the secretary testifies next week. And I will take the rest of the question and let Torie Clarke get you an answer later on.

Thank you. And I'm sorry I can't talk about Vieques. I'd be happy to another time.

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC., WASHINGTON, DC. FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE IS A PRIVATE COMPANY. FOR OTHER DEFENSE RELATED TRANSCRIPTS NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS SITE, CONTACT FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE AT (202) 347-1400.

Additional Links

Stay Connected