jump to navigation

DOD and the 2010 QDR: The Growing Militarization of US Foreign Policy April 30, 2009

Posted by dglaudemans in News.
Tags: , ,

dodThe Department of Defense set out the Terms of Reference for the forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review in a Fact Sheet dated April 27, 2009. It raises interesting questions about the civil-military relationship and the distribution of roles and responsibilities for US national security strategy.

The fact sheet describes elements of the strategic environment: violent extremist movements, weapons of mass destruction, rising powers, failed or failing states, and what it calls “increasing encroachment across the global commons.” It mentions “powerful trends” complicating US statecraft, such as the global economic downturn, climate change, demographic shifts, resource scarcity, and “the spread of destabilizing technologies.”

Continuing the pattern of the last eight years, the TOR assumes that DOD is responsible for dealing with these challenges. It argues for “institutionalizing capabilities” for counterinsurgency and foreign military assistance at DOD. It calls for institutionalizing “irregular warfare and civil support abroad capabilities,” including the last administration’s vision of “building partnership capacities,” again at DOD.

While the TOR then assures us that their process embraces a “whole of government” approach, and says the QDR will consult with other departments, it mentions DHS, ODNI, and the NSC, but makes no reference to the foreign policy agencies – State and USAID – despite the major responsibilities of these departments for the challenges DOD has described.

This framework of responsibility badly needs to be re-examined. As part of rebalancing the toolkit of American statecraft, DOD needs to consider a joint strategy review with State. And State needs to prepare for such a review with planning of the quality already in existence at DOD.



1. The Week That Was: April 27-May 1 « Budget Insight - May 1, 2009

[…] role in combating the swine flu outbreak and security assistance. The Department of Defense released its Terms of Reference (TOR) for the forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), a document that […]

2. FY 2009 Supplemental Update « Budget Insight - May 7, 2009

[…] auspices of the State Department.  Budget Insight has tracked this issue closely in recent blog posts and you can follow the debate in other Stimson publications.  We will continue to track the FY […]

3. Blurring the Line Between Military and Civilian Operations « Budget Insight - June 23, 2009

[…] Budget Insight has examined in the past, the continued reliance on the Pentagon to organize and carry out activities traditionally […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: