Let’s Put Our Thinking Caps On

Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the Air Force’s representative to the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, has spoken publicly several times in the past few months on how he would like the Air Force to approach this installment of the congressionally mandated review. The QDR, he has said, is a real forum for debate and discussion about the roles, missions, capabilities, and—yes—budgets for the armed services, and shouldn’t be treated like just another “political football.” There is a need for “air-minded” solutions, but the Air Force needs to be careful not to get stuck advocating for obsolete assumptions about its missions and force structure requirements, said Kwast. The United States is drawing down from a decade of irregular warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, shifting to a new defense strategy, and facing some severe fiscal challenges—all of which give this QDR even more importance, he has argued. “This is not about us protecting the Air Force,” said Kwast on March 20 at an AFA-sponsored event in Arlington, Va. “This is about us protecting the nation,” and Pentagon leaders need to have the “flexibility” to have conversations that are not bound by dogma, he said. For more, continue to Pushing the QDR Envelope.