Rethinking Mission Lines, Maybe

Despite a historic convergence of strategic factors—the end of a long war, a new strategic posture, and historic budget uncertainty—the Quadrennial Defense Review will likely not be “transformational,” said Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the Air Force’s QDR office director. Some outside experts have suggested the services hold another “Key West-like” event—the meeting that divvied up the roles and missions of the post-World War II military in 1947—to decide on real priorities. “The only way that happens is if you are given the permission to do that,” said Kwast during a meeting with reporters on Sept. 17 at AFA’s Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. Some discussion along these lines is occurring inside the QDR, but not to the level of addressing the ownership of missions among the services. “There is value in redundancy, there is value in having options. You have to balance that, and that is part of the art of war,” said Kwast. The conversation between services in the QDR is a “spectrum,” and while it is not “off the charts like a Key West, it is also not absent,” he said.