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QDR Will Reflect Tomorrow's, Not Today's, Challenges

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2005 – Military leaders will resist any temptation to assume the force needed for the future will be a cookie-cutter version of today's needs, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers told reporters at the National Press Club here today.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was talking about how the military will examine its forces, resources and programs during the upcoming 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review.

The so-called QDR, he told the group, needs to consider the broad range of missions the U.S. military could be called on to support. These run the gamut: from full-scale combat operations to nontraditional missions ranging from counterinsurgency missions to stability operations to homeland defense.

How to create the best-structured, -trained and -equipped force for these various missions will be the QDR's "essence," the general said.

The report, which examines emerging threats and balances them against current capabilities, is instrumental in shaping budgets, strategy and force structure.

"We want to make sure, when we get our forces set here in the early part of the 21st century, that they can deal with a wide variety of threats," Myers said. "We cannot focus on just one area." Similarly, he said, planners can't assume that future operations will be run like today's.

"The way Afghanistan was fought was different than the way Iraq was fought, and Iraq will be different than whatever we will be called on to do next, whether it's humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping or whatever it might be," Myers said. "And we have to be careful that we don't fall victim to templates of what we are currently doing now."

Defense and military leaders already recognize that there's too much conventional force structure in some areas, the general said. The Army already is working to rebalance the skills within its active and reserve components and to transform some "heavy" units into lighter, more agile units.

The last recent quadrennial defense review, conducted in 2001, occurred just before the U.S. entered the global war on terror later that year. Much of that review's emphasis was on transforming the military from its Cold War posture to a lighter, more capable and deployable force better suited to 21st-century threats.

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Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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