Another missed opportunity: QDR Independent Review Panel Report (download here) July 28, 2010Posted by bfadtest in Analysis.
Tags: Afghanistan, debt, Gordon Adams, Independent Review Panel, Iraq, QDR, Quadrennial Defense Review
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.