Deputy Secretary of Defense John White said that the
Department of Defense must dramatically change the way it does
business as he outlined the goals of the Quadrennial Defense
Review in a recent speech before the Defense Science Board.
"The Defense Department is embarking on a major undertaking
that will shape the course of American security well into the new
millennium," said White; adding that the QDR will involve a
reassessment of America's defense strategy, force structure,
military modernization programs and the defense infrastructure.
He emphasized that the goal of the QDR will be to visualize and
pursue what the Department of Defense will need in the future
rather than to rationalize and protect how the Department of
Defense is currently organized.
The QDR will be a highly collaborative effort involving all
key elements of the Department of Defense: the offices of the
Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
the CINCs and the military services. White added that the review
could begin as early as mid-November. The text of his remarks
Text of Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense John White
Defense Science Board Dinner, Washington, D.C.
October 9, 1996
The Defense Science Board's 40th anniversary is a special
milestone. In human terms, the Board has reached middle age.
That's usually the time when you start lying about your age. But
the Board should be proud of its age. You're not getting older,
you're getting better. Each new year, the Defense Science Board
builds on its illustrious history of service to America's
But even after 40 years of work, your job is certainly not
done. The next 40 years promise to pose many very tough
questions about how to harness science and technology to protect
our nation's security. The world is changing rapidly, and at a
pace we could not have predicted even five years ago. We have a
global economy. Competition across continents. High rates of
innovation. High rates of technological change. Shifting
national priorities. And each day there are immediate crises to
deal with -- from Korea to Bosnia, Haiti or Iraq. The very
number of issues that we need to deal with at any one time can be
a major challenge.
In focusing on the immediate crises, we risk forgetting
about the long-term big picture. But we cannot afford to do
that. Because in the big picture, the Defense Department needs
to change -- and the DSB is a key catalyst.
First, we've got to keep our eye on the ball -- and the ball
for DoD is joint military operations. That's what we deliver and
provide. And the military forces are changing to stay ahead of
Second, DoD needs institutional change. It is not easy, but
it is necessary. This means continuing our implementation of
Goldwater-Nichols. But more broadly, DoD as a whole is not doing
as well as the forces are at living in the new world. We must do
Fortunately, we have outside pressure to be more efficient,
to do more with less. There is emphasis on a balanced budget.
There is emphasis on making sure that we are delivering more for
the taxpayer dollar than we did in the past. All this pressure
is absolutely appropriate.
The bottom line is: We must dramatically change the way we
do business, and to do that, we need to go outside the
institution and into the marketplace for the best practices,
products, services and ideas. And when it comes to the
marketplace of ideas out there, no source has been more reliable
and more effective than the Defense Science Board.
We have heard a lot today about the DSB's breakthroughs.
Once these capabilities arrive, however, we may be guilty of
taking them for granted. More importantly, I think we are guilty
of not aggressively pursuing their broader implications.
All of this leads me to my main topic for this evening. The
Defense Department is embarking on a major undertaking that will
shape the course of American security well into the new
millennium. It is called the Quadrennial Defense Review, or QDR.
If this Administration is returned to office on election day, we
will launch this undertaking in mid-November. And if not, others
will face the same task later.
What is the QDR? It will be nothing less than a
reassessment of America's defense strategy, force structure,
military modernization programs and defense infrastructure.
What does the QDR need to be? It needs to be a fundamental
stock taking. It must examine every aspect of our defense
program: what we do, why we do it, how we do it, and how we pay
for it. It must first assess enduring US goals and interests,
then forecast the security environment, assess the potential
threats to American interests and identify opportunities to
advance them. We must understand how the world has changed and
the implications of these changes for in the future. It must
also encourage new ideas. The QDR will not just go through the
motions. The goal is not to rationalize and protect what we have
now. The goal is to visualize and pursue what we will need
We're already getting ready to begin the QDR. We're now
gathering information, identifying how to conduct analyses, and
developing the intellectual capital. DSB has already contributed
to this intellectual capital.
The QDR will be a highly collaborative effort. It will
involve all key elements of DoD -- the offices of the Secretary
of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well
as the CINCs and the military services. As a result, it will tap
expertise and ideas throughout DoD. But we can't leave it at
that. Secretary Perry and I must give clear guidance on what
needs to be examined and accomplished. If we don't give clear
guidance, we may only get changes at the margins -- status quo-
plus -- rather the fundamental rethinking we need. The challenge
will be to do this rethinking in a timely way and to provide
My overarching concern is to ensure that the results of the
QDR are imaginative, innovative and responsive to the fundamental
needs of US security in the future. Consequently, we need to
identify constraints, examine contingencies and explore options.
More specifically, without prejudging any aspects of the
QDR, I would like to touch on four themes that are important in
the course of this review, and raise questions of how we shape
First, we must take a fresh look at the full spectrum of
plausible military operations and associated capabilities given
posited world conditions. We need to include a wider set of
potential scenarios. One of the criticisms of the Bottom Up
Review was that it placed too much emphasis on maintaining the
forces necessary to fight two major regional conflicts nearly
simultaneously, and too little emphasis on the day-to-day demands
of overseas presence and smaller-scale contingencies. I agree
with that view. In some ways, we are the source of that view.
So we are committed to evaluating and testing force structure
alternatives against the full range of plausible contingencies.
The world today is more complex. Each crisis we face tends to be
separate and unique. Events are desegregated. This makes
incremental decisions even more dangerous, and puts incredible
strain on the decision-making process. We live in what feels
like an ad hoc world. But we cannot make decisions ad hoc.
To develop a way to deal with crises today and tomorrow, the
QDR must put every kind of crisis in an operational context. How
do we capture the realistic -- and most likely -- operational
requirements that we will face? Since our forecasts cannot
envision all that will occur, how do we hedge?
The second theme of the QDR -- the one that underlies
everything -- is resources. What resources will be available to
pay for the forces that will execute our strategy? DoDs plans
call for a 40 percent increase in funding to modernize our forces
over the next five years. Is that enough? And how can our
funding goals for modernization be assured, particularly in light
of our continued emphasis on readiness and quality of life?
Should we change our priorities? How much savings can we really
get from efficiencies?
A third theme of the QDR relates to the revolution in
military affairs. We're already doing a lot, but we need to do
more to incorporate technological changes into doctrine, tactics
and force structure. How do we address the implications of
changed capabilities? Can we do more meaningful experiments?
Can we get at the systemic changes which are intimated but not
specified? If so, how and when?
Finally, the fourth theme of the QDR relates to making
fundamental institutional changes to the Department of Defense.
The QDR will be about a lot more than strategy, force structure
and modernization programs. It must examine major changes in the
way we do business. Like other institutions in society, DoD has
already begun to change. We have reduced our work force, and cut
our overhead by closing bases. We are overhauling the defense
acquisition system, so we can buy more commercial products. And
we have begun to outsource to the private sector and privatize
portions of our support activities. But we need to do a great
Outsourcing is a good idea for two reasons. First, it will
allow us to focus on our core competencies to conduct joint
military operations. Second, there is a large, diverse
commercial industrial base out there that can perform many of our
support activities better, cheaper and more quickly. For the
DSB, this is a penetrating glimpse into the obvious. Your summer
study this year made a powerful case for outsourcing.
What we have done so far is only the beginning of the
changes needed in DoD. We need to expand the scope and breadth
of outsourcing and change many logistics practices while
protecting our essential core. We need to look at all
opportunities, including the less obvious.
More generally, we must structure the Quadrennial Defense
Review to ensure that it really deals with these broader, more
fundamental goals. We are determined to get the Department
moving in new directions. That means not only making changes but
reinforcing the incentives for change.
The challenges associated with the QDR are ones that the DSB
is uniquely equipped to tackle. So expect us to ask for help
with many aspects of this important effort. Nobody has been a
better source of creative and synergistic thinking than the DSB.
That is exactly the kind of thinking we'll need as we chart the
course of America's defense into the next century. We look
forward to working with you, as we have in the past.
Earlier today at the Pentagon, we held a special ceremony to
present the first annual Eugene G. Fubini award. The award was
created by Secretary Perry to honor an individual for his or her
significant contribution to the Department of Defense and
national security through outstanding scientific and technical
advice. It seemed only fitting to present the first award to
the man himself, Dr. Fubini. Since Gene could not be there we
presented the medal to his son, David. One very special
individual who deeply regrets he could not be with us today was
the man Dr. Fubini has identified as his mentor, Harold Brown.
But Harold sends his greetings and his regards to all of you who
serve and have served on the Defense Science Board. He also
sends a special message about the man he calls his mentor: Dr.
Harold said: Gene's enormous breadth of knowledge and
wisdom both about technology and about the military was in my
judgment, unmatched. He knew a wide spectrum of senior military
officers, defense experts, technologists and used that set of
connections and his own wisdom to advance US national security
through various means. His sharpness of intellect, his ability
to delve deeply into programs, concepts and capabilities of
industry, means he was able to show the rest of us the way to go.
He was a shining example for two to three generations of national
security participants. On top of it all, Gene has always been
and will always be a great guy.
I believe we all share Harold Brown's sentiments. So in the
spirit of Eugene Fubini, let us go forward, with his knowledge,
wisdom and energy. And congratulations to the Defense Science
Board for 40 great years.