The Pentagon’s QDR: Analyzed & Digested, Ahead of Today’s Rollout
If you didn’t get enough reporting and analysis on the Pentagon’s master planning document, the Quadrennial Defense Review, from my preview piece on Friday, today is your day. This afternoon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a briefing for reporters, will unveil the so-called QDR alongside next year’s Pentagon budget request. But if you were hanging around the internet this weekend, you already know what the QDR says.
That’s because Andrew Exum, a defense analyst at the Center for a New American Security, posted the final version of the QDR on Saturday. That led to a series of posts from Robert Farley of the University of Kentucky and (ahem) myself, on my personal blog, here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here, digesting its importance. By the time Gates and Mullen present, you’ll already know what the document is about: reorienting defense around the fights we’re in and the threats we presently face and not some futuristic vision of warfare; robust collective security and multilateralism; and helicopters, helicopters, helicopters. There’s a lot about including cybersecurity in our conception of defense — in fact, as much about cybersecurity as about conventional warfare! — and the rationale for that is adequately demonstrated by the fact that you can, by now, argue that the QDR is Old News.