The War on Terrorism and Beyond: Principles and Issues for the Quadrennial Defense Review
Every four years,
the Department of Defense, as required by law, conducts a review of
its forces, resources, and programs, and presents the findings of
its Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) to the President and Congress.
The QDR is instrumental in shaping budgets, strategy, and force
structure. The last QDR, in 2001, outlined a major shift in defense
thinking from the "threat-based" model to the "capabilities-based"
model, which in turn has generated increased focus on
transformation of the military. A successful QDR will require
addressing critical issues raised at a recent conference at the
Heritage Foundation, including improving interagency operations,
advancing the military use of space, preparing Reserve Component
forces for the 21st century, and ensuring adequate
manpower and industrial base to support sustained operations.
Issues for the 2005 QDR
The War on
Terrorism. How should the QDR reflect the tasks of homeland
security? The Department of Defense has necessary and appropriate
roles to play in combating transnational terrorism, but determining
roles and the resources need for them must reflect not only the
military's missions, but also the responsibilities of other
agencies and allies. The 2005 QDR must also address all the
military's tasks, not just its counterterrorism role.
Issues. All services must address balancing recapitalization,
transformation, and modernization; the debate on systems and
platforms; and the challenge of determining the difference between
what future capabilities will be essential and which ones would be
just "nice to have."
Force: Current resources cannot sustain projected needs,
especially under the pressure of procuring the anticipated
compliment of F-22 and JSF (F-35) fighter aircraft. The 2005 QDR
must address the imbalance between tactical aircraft and bombers,
rigidity in long-term acquisition strategy, and the modernization
of the tanker fleet.
the Army, the debate over the optimum size and structure of the
force, moving from division-centric to brigade-centric
organization, increasing "modularity" to ensure flexibility, and
investment in the Future Combat System will be at the forefront of
Navy has no officially approved plan for the number and type of
ships it needs. The QDR must address the implications of this
Operations Forces. Special Operations forces are among the most
critical components of America's armed forces. Not only are they
versatile, flexible, and cost-effective but they also help bridge
critical technological interoperability gaps with allies and
partners. The QDR must address continuing modernization efforts for
Special Operation Forces.
Cooperation. Post-conflict operations in Iraq have demonstrated
the increasing importance of effective interagency operations. The
QDR should advance proposals for improving the effectiveness of
Reserve Components. New roles and missions have led to an
imbalance between the Reserve Component and Active Component in
capabilities, deployment rotations, and other operational factors.
A major issues for the 2005 QDR will be the Total Force concept and
how it should be applied in future.
There is a lack of focused advocacy for military space programs.
However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that there may be
some need to deploy assets in space and develop the capability to
Industrial Base. At the nexus of national security, free trade,
arms control, financial policy, and commerce is an emerging set of
issues associated with the globalization of the defense industrial
Management. Business practices, recapitalization of
facilities, and acquisition reform remain key management issues for
the Department of Defense. The 2005 QDR should support the idea of
a Chief Management Officer who can ensure efficient business
practices and resource management.
The range of
threats and capabilities, complexity of issues, and financial and
organizational constraints facing 2005 QDR strategic planners are
intensely challenging. For the process to be successful, it should
be guided be a set of sound principles. These principles for the
2005 Quadrennial Defense Review include:
prospects should not drive the QDR. Those conducting the QDR
should be directed to carry out their analysis based on the
assumption that while resources are not limitless, robust defense
budgets will be sustained.
systems must be weighted equally. A serious discussion about
long-term platform investment must be reintroduced into the
force structure, and responsibilities must be balanced. The
United States must ensure that it clearly defines what capabilities
it needs, the force structure to produce those capabilities, and
the responsibilities for which the U.S. must be held
systems remain central to long-term national security. While
most national security policy debates focuses on the threat of
terrorism, more traditional state-based threats still exist and
must not be ignored by the QDR.
The war on
terrorism should influence, but not drive, long-term decision
making. The armed forces must be prepared for all of its
21st century missions, and the war on terrorism is just
information on principles to guide the 2005 Quadrennial Defense
Review, see Heritage Foundation Executive Memorandum No.
954, "Principles for the Next
Quadrennial Defense Review."
Jack Spencer is
Senior Policy Analyst for Defense and National Security in the
Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies
at the Heritage Foundation. Kathy Gudgel, Research Assistant in
Defense and National Security, contributed to this piece.
This paper is based on presentations given at The War on
Terrorism and Beyond: Principles and Issues for the Quadrennial
Defense Review, held at the Heritage Foundation on December 3,