It was recently announced that Secretary Hagel has ordered the Pentagon to launch a review of current strategy prior to the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The new review, led by Deputy Secretary Carter, is set to conclude by the end of May and assess DoD options in the face of the current defense drawdown.
[DoD spokesman] Little said that the review would look at the Pentagon’s strategy, force posture, investments and previous assumptions and practices. It is designed to look forward and define the major decisions that need to be made over the next decade to adapt to “a range of future budgetary scenarios.”
The review’s goal echoes Gordon Adams’ recent calls for a review US strategy in light of the current budget climate. However, as Gordon highlighted today, there are questions about the direction of the review:
This first look at the defense past and future could help [Hagel] set out strategic choices and management challenges as a way to guide the QDR. But it has to be budget constrained, and two things are unclear: First, is the secretary going to put resource limits on an equal footing with strategic choices, as is necessary; second, is he going to make this review a real plan with real guidance for the QDR.
Budgetary realities are inherently intertwined with assessing strategic capabilities for the future. This review will likely be a major factor in deciding the tone and direction of the upcoming QDR and, if it’s budget-informed as Gordon recommends, that could be a very positive contribution.