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QDR Will Help Military Meet Challenges, England Says

By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2006 – The Quadrennial Defense Review will shift the "strategic direction" of the U.S. armed forces to help the United States win the long war against terrorism, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England said here yesterday.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, England said the strategy put forth in the upcoming QDR will help the U.S. armed forces respond to "asymmetrical threats" and challenges to national security.

The Defense Department will "move in a direction of speed, agility, precision and lethality in force, shifting emphasis from the Cold War construct," England said.

The enemy the United States faces today is "not a conventional nation-state foe like the Soviet Union," England said. The enemy is dispersed, ruthless and consists of a global network of extremists who intend to advance their "radical aims" through nontraditional means, he explained.

England said the QDR will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the military and will foster a move toward processes that will improve the joint capability of the military and provide "a framework to reshape the defense enterprise to better support the warfighter," he said.

The deputy secretary emphasized the QDR is not an abrupt change in direction, but simply "accelerates a transformation that was started in 2001 to defeat asymmetrical challenges and threats.'

"These challenges require stronger partnerships, both within agencies of our government and with our friends and allies internationally," he said. "The QDR gives clear direction for strengthening and expanding these relationships, because robust partner capacity is essential in this war."

England said the four general focus areas of the QDR are defending the homeland, defeating terrorist extremism, helping shape the choices of countries at strategic crossroads, and countering weapons of mass destruction.

Also speaking at the event was Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who talked about the QDR from a military perspective.

The military will be plenty capable of dealing with traditional threats, but "we want to move from traditional threats to irregular, disruptive ... threats," Giambastiani said.

The QDR will help the military shift "from peacetime garrisoned forces to wartime and peacetime expeditionary forces and operations, and from large institutional forces to larger operational forces and capabilities," Giambastiani said.

The defense review also will enable the military to move from conventional combat operations to irregular asymmetric operations, and "in some cases from major combat operations ... to military support stability, security, transition and reconstruction," the vice chairman said. "And from potentially large exposed forward footprints to leveraging significant reach-back resources."

Giambastiani also spoke about the need for U.S. forces to become more linguistically capable, and made the point that the forthcoming QDR is not a radical departure from the last QDR, but is more of a "refined force-planning construct."

The 2005 review retains major elements of QDR 2001, he said, but homeland defense and special operations requirements are more clearly defined in QDR 2005.

In addition, the Army must create more modular and deployable units and headquarters, and the military must improve joint air, maritime and intelligence capabilities to meet potential threats with a "wider menu of military options," Giambastiani said.

The congressionally mandated QDR will be delivered to Congress Feb. 6. It is the third QDR, and the first during a time a war.

Contact Author

Gordon England
Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, USN

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