Thornberry: Is There Still Value in the QDR?

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) asked senior Defense Department officials Thursday if there was any value to continuing the Quadrennial Defense Review. “I’ve been around for all of these,” he said during an April 3 House Armed Services Committee hearing. “And, I’ve been increasingly skeptical of the value.” Thornberry, after hearing testimony from senior Pentagon officials about the balance between the budget and strategy, noted the law establishing the QDR ordered the review to study a long-term strategy that would ensure “low to moderate risk.” With the current strategy pushing the upper limit of “moderate risk,” Thornberry said, it seems the intent of the QDR mandate is not being followed, and asked vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Sandy Winnefeld what his thoughts were on a provision to repeal the statutory requirement. Winnefeld said the process of examining long-term assumptions is “valuable,” as it forces a longer look and a more joint manner of examining long-term capabilities. “We may look at ways to improve it,” such as better defining and communicating what “risk” means to the joint force, said Winnefeld. However, he did not support removing the requirement.