You Can’t Always Get the QDR You Want

The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review is a product of the strategic and budgetary environment the Defense Department must deal with, said Christine Wormuth, deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and force development. She made the comment during her March 10 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., in response to criticism of the just-released document. For example, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), has been vocal with his dissatisfaction, calling for a re-do of the review. In defending the QDR, Wormuth said the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2015 budget proposal accepts risk in certain areas, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the service Chiefs accepted that tradeoff in order to protect capacity and capability. “Some parts of the [defense] strategy, we can execute at low risk; others, I think, we would execute at higher risk,” she said. While risk is a subjective set of adjectives in DOD planning, almost all senior Pentagon leaders agree that sequester-level funding after Fiscal 2016 would impose a moderate- to high-risk scenario on US defense strategy, she said. Hagel has made clear a “strategy-driven and resource-informed” process is what the Pentagon needs to embrace in order to meet real-world security needs in this fiscal environment, she said.