Bring a Knife

The Air Force is well aware that the Quadrennial Defense Review could devolve into a budgetary knife fight among the services, Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the Air Force’s QDR director, told the Daily Report on Wednesday. Kwast said he heard former Air Force Secretary Whit Peters’ comments last month at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., that the “QDR is supposed to be a strategic and policy planning event. It is, in fact, a huge budget fight.” Kwast, in response, said, “You hope it won’t come down to that. . . . We want to address this collegially, and with an open mind.” However, if the worst comes to pass, and the budget pressures are too extreme to permit a calm reassessment of national strategy as constrained by a tight budget, “I have a knife in my back pocket,” said Kwast. “But I hope I won’t have to use it. We’re not so naïve to think that’s not a possibility. But what’s the point of this exercise unless you’re willing to take an innovative approach?” A budget brawl “won’t get us where we need to go,” he added. He spoke to the Daily Report after his March 20 address to AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies in Arlington, Va.