No QDR Preconceptions

Going into the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Air Force will bring no preconceived notions or non-negotiable positions, to include the continued existence of an independent Air Force, said Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the service’s QDR director, Wednesday. Speaking with the Daily Report following his March 20 presentation for AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies in Arlington, Va., Kwast said he’s not in the business of advocating for a separate Air Force yet. “Since they [Pentagon leaders] haven’t said it, I can’t say it,” he said. However, “This is not about us protecting the Air Force. This is about us protecting the nation. And we need the geniuses that are above us to have the flexibility to have that conversation.” Kwast hastened to add that “if it were my call, personally, I think there is tremendous value in having an independent, air-minded approach. And I think that’s been compelling since 1947” when the nation founded the separate Air Force. “I think we are indispensable” to the nation’s future, he said. However, even such a fundamental assumption “needs to be questioned every time” a QDR is run, he said. “Otherwise, we go headlong into a future where we cling to our past,” said Kwast. Civilizations that don’t have the “humility or open-mindedness” to reassess their paradigms and demonstrate a willingness to change “will be on the trash heap of history,” he said.