QDR: Reviews Pour In

Reviews of the Penagon's Quadrennial Defense Review are pouring in. Here's a sample...

Slate: "The document envisions a world where the U.S. military's main missions are homeland defense, the war on terrorism, and 'irregular' or 'asymmetric' warfare... Much ink is spilled in discussing these new kinds of wars and the new kinds of soldier and command structures that they require. But look at what the Pentagon is really doing, how it's spending its vast sums of money (close to $500 billion next year, not including the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). With a few notable exceptions (most of them inexpensive), you'd think that we were still fighting the Soviet Union and that the Cold War were still raging on."LAT: "The review does not endorse a large increase in U.S. ground forces. But after three years of a war that has been longer and more lethal than most in the Pentagon had envisioned, the document places a new importance on getting help from other nations to fight wars and keep peace."WaPo: "The review's key assumptions betray what Pentagon leaders acknowledge is a certain humility regarding the Defense Department's uncertainty about what the world will look like over the next five, 10 or 20 years, as well as its realization that the U.S. military cannot attain victory alone."
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Watch looks at the section of the QDR's promises of "defending the homeland in depth." And here's the extended version of the interview I did last week with The World on the Defense Department's new master plan.Ralph Peters: "If you found your hilltop house on fire, would you (A) put out the flames, or (B) buy flood insurance? If your answer is 'B,' you're suited for a job in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). At a time when our Army and Marines bear by far the heaviest load of our nation's security burdens, OSD proposes reducing the number of soldiers to free up funds for wasteful Cold-War-era weapons systems."UPDATE 1:36 PM: I haven't made it all the way through, yet. But this "alternative QDR" has some good stuff in it.
The Department of Defense must direct its resources to areas likely to reap the largest security gains. The administrations current so-called capabilities approach, which focuses more on how an adversary might fight than who the adversary might be and where a war might occur, fails to assign levels of risk and importance to the various threats this nation faces. The Pentagon must reintroduce elements of a threat-based model that guided its thinking in the immediate post-Cold War period. Weapons procurement policies must also change dramatically, so that they are attuned to actual needs rather than political interests. The administration and Congress should eliminate outdated weapons, cut losses on systems that do not work but are kept alive because of political interests, and increase funding for systems that reflect changing threats to U.S. national security. Only through the assignment of risks and priorities can the Pentagon produce programs and budgets that are affordable and cost effective.
It also calls for boosting the Army by 86,000 troops, and for dropping the Raptor, DD(X), Osprey, and Virginia-class sub.UPDATE 02/06/06 8:16 AM: Joe Katzman "looked for articles that were positive as well as critical" of the QDR. "Unfortunately, that proved something of a Diogenesian search - the 2006 QDR's early 'buzz meter' is distinctly unfavourable, even among entities usually supportive of the military."For example, here's Tom Barnett, who's generally a pretty big fan of Rumsfeld et. al.:
Bush sets the right course. He just does it a way thats completely unsustainable, and to me, in the end, thats bad grand strategy. Bush begins the Long War but he and his crew need to exit stage right before we can get seriously prepared to win it.The Army is serious about moving in this direction, as is Special Operations Command and the Marines. For now, because the White House indulges them, neither the Air Force or the Navy has gotten with the program. When the Navy brags how its huge destroyers are justified because they can also insert SEALs, you know strategic logic has left the building.
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