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Another missed opportunity: QDR Independent Review Panel Report (download here) July 28, 2010

Posted by bfadtest in Analysis.
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Tomorrow the QDR Independent Review Panel releases its final report, a critique of the QDR’s recommendations, assumptions, and vulnerabilities.  Like the QDR itself, this report is another missed opportunity for disciplining defense missions and budgets.

Much has changed since this panel first convened in February.  Federal debt was already at historic highs and political support for counterinsurgency in Afghanistan was already falling, but awareness of and interest in these issues has boomed in the recent months.  Most prominently, the appropriations committees in both chambers have reduced the President’s defense request in just the past few days (House; Senate).

The panel, however, doesn’t seem to have received this message.  Instead, it doubled down on the basic weakness of the QDR itself by failing to prioritize missions, examine risk, or set any limits.  Then, rather than justifying the claim that we need to be all things to all people, the panel simply asserts that outside forces strip us of our discretion and require this mission expansion.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  This lack of planning and budgetary discipline ignores the country’s economic problems and flagging political support for high defense budgets.  Now is the time to take a closer look at the military’s missions, make a realistic risk calculation and reshape a smaller and better tailored force.  Not only can we do it, we must.

(For additional analysis, Dr. Christopher Preble from the Cato Institute and Sustainable Defense Task Force has a commendable post available here.)

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Comments»

1. More on that Alternate QDR | Think Tank West - July 28, 2010

[...] Gordon Adams weighs in on the QDR Independent Review Panel, and makes the important observation that their report: doubled down on the basic weakness of the QDR itself by failing to prioritize missions, examine risk, or set any limits.  Then, rather than justifying the claim that we need to be all things to all people, the panel simply asserts that outside forces strip us of our discretion and require this mission expansion. [...]

2. Joseph B Moran - July 30, 2010

Do you think that the old weapons and armored vehicles be
recycled?

I would appreciate if you reply the above.

3. Silence isn’t Golden: State needs to weigh in on security assistance « Budget Insight - August 2, 2010

[...] Panel, Security Assistance, State Department trackback Sections of the recently released QDR independent review panel report sound an awful lot like what you might hear from the pinstriped crowd at Foggy [...]


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