Plugging the QDR Holes

The Defense Department’s recently released Quadrennial Defense Review raises “more questions than answers” and “offers little implementation guidance” because of “watered down language” included in the final report, states a new policy paper from the Center for a New American Security. That’s also the opinion of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, who in March called on DOD to “rewrite and resubmit” the QDR for similar reasons. More specifically, though, the paper urges the congressionally mandated National Defense Panel, which is expected to issue its independent assessment of the QDR in June, to consider six “critical strategic issues that the QDR did not address in sufficient detail.” First, NDP must “assess the risks posed by shrinking defense budgets” in its independent assessment of the QDR, which is slated for release in June. This is “the single most important contribution the NDP can make,” wrote Nora Bensahel in the paper. The other five “critical strategic issues that the QDR did not address in sufficient detail,” include the relationship between the Active Duty and reserve components; “rapidly regenerating ground forces if they are needed for future contingencies; reforming the defense enterprise; engaging with US allies and partners even as many of their defense capabilities decline; and ensuring US technological superiority.”