CSBA Study Calls for New Force Planning Construct

Instead of adding layers to existing planning priorities and guidance, the Defense Department should use the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review to create a new baseline to guide its future force, according to a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The report, “Shaping America’s Future Military: Toward a New Force Planning Construct,” outlines potential elements for a new construct and specific roles’ each of the services could play. According to the report, authored by Mark Gunzinger, CSBA senior fellow, DOD likely has not created a similar vision for how the military should prepare for national security challenges since the1993 bottom-up review. The past four QDRs only have added new mission requirements to major regional contingency scenarios to help the services “justify” existing programs rather than provide a criterion for planning scenarios that could help balance DOD strategy and resources, states the report. A new force planning construct, coupled with service-specific strategic concepts, would be a “significant break from the current planning paradigm” and would “better inform decisions as to how best to shape the US military’s capabilities, end strength, and basing posture.” The report was unveiled during a June 13 presentation on Capitol Hill.