Resources Before Roles and Missions

This year’s Strategic Choices and Management Review provided essential knowledge needed to complete the Quadrennial Defense Review, Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast told attendees at a Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies event in Arlington, Va., on Thursday. The SCMR was “essential work” required to take a fresh look at where every dollar is spent within the Defense Department, he said. This sort of review had not been done in a while. Insights gained from SCMR were “powerfully important” for strategy, and the exercise achieved needed “sensitivity analysis” across missions and services, he said. “(SCMR) gave us a sense of cause and effect relationships,” Kwast said, adding QDR planners could see if a certain funding level was going into a particular mission or capability, and if that money was taken away how that cut would impact the ability to achieve goals in strategy and on the battlefield. “It was the foundation of the QDR, the knowledge base where we started,” Kwast said. Following the SCMR, the QDR talked about risk, then strategy, and then resources. That’s where the process hits a wall, and hard questions about service roles and missions can’t be answered until Congress offers clarity on resources. “Do we need a roles and missions (review?),” Kwast asked. “We don’t know yet… because we don’t know what kind of permission we are going to be given with regards to resources.”