The Strategic Opportunity

The soon-to-be-released Quadrennial Defense Review will be judged based on how much it clarifies and expands upon the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, and the extent to which it aligns strategic priorities with the resource choices now being rolled out, said Mark Gunzinger, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The 2006 and 2010 QDRs were basically “wartime reviews,” said Gunzinger during a March 3 teleconference with reporters. They focused on current operations that heavily emphasized counterterrorism, irregular threats, and homeland defense activities. The DSG attempted to reset Defense Department priorities and prepare the joint force for a post-war footing. “But we haven’t seen the kind of shift in resources to support the [DSG],” said Gunzinger, and there’s been no real attention to a force-sizing or -shaping construct. How much the new QDR addresses these points will determine if it serves a useful purpose or it will be just another “posture statement,” he said. It will likely include discussion of weapons of mass destruction, rising powers, and anti-access/area-denial and irregular threats, he said. It should also focus on “long-term competition” with rivals such as China, Russia, and their proxies, said Gunzinger.