Strategy, Opportunity, and the QDR

Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, director of the Air Force’s Quadrennial Defense Review, said last week the Pentagon will undertake the upcoming review at a unique time for the country and the Pentagon. The United States is drawing down from Afghanistan, shifting assets to the Asia-Pacific region, and grappling with steep fiscal realities. Combined, these issues present an “opportunity to have a significant conversation” about the defense of the United States and its interests, Kwast told defense reporters in Washington, D.C., on March 15. This QDR will be the first one since the release of the Obama Administration’s new defense strategic guidance in January 2012, he noted. As such, it is an “inflection point” for political leadership and military leaders to match strategy with programmatic detail, he said. Kwast said he wants to see this QDR put more programmatic detail on the way forward on ideas such as AirSea Battle, the Joint Staff’s Joint Operational Access Concept, and other initiatives for dealing with anti-access challenges. They represent the Defense Department’s efforts “to codify the fact that we are still on this journey from a Cold War structure of military capability and shaping it into a structure that has more agility, resilience, and flexibility,” said Kwast.