Quadrennial Defense Review

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The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is "a Congressionally mandated, medium-range planning guide that the [armed] services use as the framework and justification for their individual budget requests to Congress each year."[1]

QDR 2005

  • Memo: Jack Spencer and Kathy Gudgel, April 20, 2005, Heritage Foundation: "The 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review: Strategy and Threats." [2]
"The 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review is unique in that it will be accomplished under four unusual conditions: It is the first wartime QDR; it is the first QDR done by a Secretary of Defense who has already led one before; this QDR is the first undertaken when budgets are consistently growing; and this is the first QDR in the post-9/11 environment.
"This QDR is based on a new threat matrix. The threats are different kinds of 'changing security environments,' and the matrix is designed to drive capabilities-based planning. It reflects the reality that conventional warfare is on the decline while the likelihood of unconventional warfare is on the rise. The matrix, as defined by the March 2005 National Defense Strategy, contains these threat components[1]:
  • Irregular Threats: These are challenges arising from the adoption or employment of unconventional methods by non-state and state actors to counter stronger state opponents. Examples include terrorism, insurgency, civil war, etc.
  • Catastrophic Threats: These are challenges involving the surreptitious acquisition, possession, and possible terrorist or rogue-state employment of WMD or methods of producing WMD-like effects.
  • Traditional Threats: These are challenges posed largely by states employing legacy and advanced military capabilities and recognizable military forces, in long-established, well-known forms of military competition and conflict.
  • Disruptive Threats: These are future challenges from competitors developing, possessing, and employing breakthrough technological capabilities intended to supplant our advantages in particular domains of operation.
"The Secretary of Defense has also identified four 'core problems,' closely related to the threat matrix, that the U.S. must be able to address:
  • Partnerships with failing states to defeat international terrorist threats: It is in the U.S. interest to see that world systems are well managed. This may necessarily involve the U.S. in a series of military interventions that will be in some sense elective and a matter of political debate.
  • Defense of the homeland, including offensive strikes against terrorist groups: The United States must be prepared to attack terrorists around the world to prevent attacks on the homeland.
  • Influencing the strategic choices of major countries: Trying to determine the number and kinds of military forces required for this kind of task is very difficult.
  • Preventing proliferation of WMD: This is the one likely war-fighting issue that could require regime-change operations."
  • Event: "The 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review: Strategy and Threats," March 17, 2005, Heritage Foundation. [3]

QDR 2002

According to Lisa Burgess, writing June 2, 2002, "The last QDR was written in 1997. The next QDR is due to Congress on Sept 30[, 2002]."

Burgess states that "The last QDR was based on a strategy that [President] George W. Bush has criticized for getting the U.S. military involved in too many peacekeeping and other noncombat missions. Bush directed [Secretary of Defense] Donald H. Rumsfeld to come up with another strategy." As of the June 2, 2002 article, thus "far the defense secretary [had] not said publicly what it will be."

"The so-called 'Rumsfeld Review' has been the No.1 topic of interest in the Pentagon since January, when Bush asked his new defense secretary to take a fresh look at how to structure U.S. forces in the post-Cold War period.
"Rumsfeld, in turn, tasked Andrew Marshall, director of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment, an internal think tank, to conduct the review. Marshall broke the review tasking into about a dozen subject areas and set to work -- hampered somewhat by the skeleton roster of high-level defense appointees that always results when the presidency changes hands.
"No sooner was the review announced than defense watchers began to speculate on the potential impact the policy review could have on developing weapons systems and force structure."

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