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QDR to Reflect Uncertain Environment

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2005 – The 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review will reflect the reality that potential threats against the United States remain uncertain and "we just can't predict, like we could during the Cold War, of what it is we've got to face," a senior DoD official said here today.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy Ryan Henry told reporters at the Heritage Foundation, proved that asymmetrical threats are a clear and present danger to the United States.

And because global terrorists continue to threaten Americans at home and abroad, Henry noted, the U.S. military has "to have capabilities across a broad spectrum."

Henry is among the senior defense policy experts working on the 2005 QDR, a formal review of DoD strategy that's conducted every four years. The review, he said, is slated for completion sometime next February.

"We believe that, post-9/11, we are starting to understand enough of the problem set that we're faced with right now," Henry explained. The new QDR, he said, consequently represents "a ripe opportunity" to re-evaluate strategic military planning and make necessary changes.

Henry said DoD would welcome QDR input from U.S. military allies, members of Congress, outside policy experts, the defense industry and the public-at-large.

"We want to bring in all the ideas," Henry noted.

A key QDR task, Henry said, is to evaluate "the challenges out there, to have a strategy with which to meet those challenges, and then to have it appropriately resourced." Another fundamental QDR purpose, he added, involves "apportioning risk across the challenges that we see."

After evaluating near- and long-term challenges to national security, Henry said, the QDR sets "the right balance" in recommending necessary resources for the strategies chosen to confront those challenges.

The upcoming QDR, Henry noted, will incorporate lessons learned from U.S. military combat operations conducted against terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as the humanitarian missions in Haiti and Rwanda.

"Operationally, there have been a lot of good lessons out there," Henry reported, such as battlefield successes that were leveraged by joint operations, network-centric communications, and the innovative deployment of special operations troops.

The 2005 QDR, Henry said, would consider likely future defense budget reductions after years of funding boosts precipitated by the 9/11 attacks and follow-on U.S. military actions.

"We have to think about a constrained top line," he acknowledged.

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Ryan Henry

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Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

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