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Defense Review Matches Strategy with Capabilities

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2005 – The Quadrennial Defense Review, due to Congress in February, is a long-term look to ensure DoD has the tools needed to do the missions of the future, a senior DoD policy official said.

Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, said the review will take its cues from the National Defense Strategy released in March. "The Defense Strategy stresses the importance of strategic uncertainty," Feith said in an interview. "It tells everyone in the department, 'Don't pretend that you can predict the future.'"

When he entered office more than four years ago, the hottest topic was ballistic missile defense. No one could have predicted the threat that turned into the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"We have to understand that the world is going to present us with challenges that we're not going to precisely identify in advance," he said. "That doesn't mean that you can't plan. You have to plan to be surprised."

Given an uncertain future, the United States must build a force that is flexible, fast and can counter many different threats, he said.

A spectrum of challenges faces America and its allies, Feith said. Some are conventional challenges from nation states. Others focus on the terrorist threats. Still others deal with responses to catastrophic challenges and others with disruptive challenges. "There are some people who think that since 9/-11 we are focused only on irregular threats and we've forgotten other types of problems," Feith said. "That's just not the case."

Another large part of the review deals with other countries. Obviously, Feith said, the United States needs the cooperation of other countries to defeat terrorists. The United States does not have the freedom of action to go after terrorist cells wherever they are located. "There are great difficulties (in) having to fight an enemy who is present in numerous countries with whom we are not at war," he said.

Part of the National Defense Strategy is to "encourage and enable" other countries to go after terrorists, Feith said. The QDR will look at ways the military can build what he called "partnership capacity." "How do we work with other countries to build up their capabilities to act in our common interests?" he asked.

The undersecretary said there are probably changes in law, in institutions, in activities, and in resources that would allow DoD to do this more effectively.

Feith also expanded on the idea of "jointness." He said the traditional usage of the term is military services working together. But, he said, he sees "expanding rings" of jointness, first encompassing the military working with other federal agencies and then as a country working with international partners. "This is a war that clearly cannot be won by military means alone, and it cannot be won by the United States alone," he said.

One example is the global peace operations initiative that strives to build the capabilities of other countries. "We have the thought of working with Congress to change some of the "stovepiped" arrangements for training and equipping other countries' security forces," he said.

DoD needs to work more closely with the State and Justice departments and others to facilitate the training, he said.

Feith said officials will use information gleaned from the QDR to inform the decisions for the 2007 defense budget request.

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Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith

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