Where You Sit is Where You Spend

The Pentagon’s Strategic Choices Management Review forced the services to plumb their budgets deeply—which is going to help drive the Quadrennial Defense Review’s final product, said Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the Air Force’s QDR office director. “The nice thing about the [SCMR] is that it kind of gave us insight into where things sit inside the [Defense Department],” Kwast told reporters at AFA’s Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Sept. 17. Specifically, he said, it gave the services’ QDR representatives visibility into where the services spent their money, and the magnitude of it. Kwast said the QDR would likely not try to “crack open” matters and missions that the White House and Office of the Secretary of Defense have determined as policy priorities. That’s a break from past QDRs, which looked at the full spectrum of missions in DOD, said Kwast. Going forward, the QDR is scrutinizing return on investment and capabilities, and if current strategy is executable, he said. The 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance did not factor budget sequestration, noted Kwast. “It makes the affordability part of the strategy work a real problem. That’s why you hear it more,” he said.