The Sequester, QDR and Strategy

The journey of the US military from a force built around equipment and structures suited to industrial age warfare, to one modeled on the challenges of the information age is at the core of the problem the Quadrennial Defense Review is trying to solve, said Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the Air Force’s QDR representative, during a Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies event in Arlington, Va., Thursday. Over the past months, the QDR representatives from each of the services have started examining the risks in the world, and how the security environment will change in the coming years. But there are limitations, and Kwast made it clear that fiscal uncertainty—even with a new budget deal on the way—is taking its toll in those strategy talks. “The work has been good and collaborative and interesting, but we get to a point in that conversation where we have uncertainty on the resources,” Kwast said, referring to the specter of sequestration’s effects. This makes it “very difficult” to come to a finish line where strategy options are presented definitively. “If you make the worst case assumption, you’ll probably be wrong even then,” he added. “Sequestration may not be the worst case scenario in our future.”