QDR sidesteps request for more cyber warfare funds
- By Gregory Slabodkin
- May 26, 1997
Contrary to the recommendations of a November Defense Science Board report and a March
intra-agency assessment done specifically for the QDR, the final version of the QDR did
not address what the earlier reports called a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall in
battlefield comm and information warfare.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense conducts the QDR once every four years to assess
the department's long-term requirements and near-term strategies. Its recommendations
serve as a blueprint for DOD modernization and investments to 2010 and beyond.
The report recommended a series of program adjustments, such asincreased investments in
warfighting areas but not for control, communications, computers, intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.
"Modernization of our forces depends upon a strong backbone of [C4ISR]
systems," the QDR report said. "The important and central role of these systems
and the large resources that must be devoted to them inspired a hard and sweeping look at
our entire effort devoted to C4ISR. The general focus and amount of resources devoted to
this effort were determined to be appropriate."
But the QDR's review of C4ISR capabilities ignored the two studies designed to guide
the QDR's investment strategy for information technologies into the 21st century.
The C4ISR Mission Assessment (CMA) found that DOD had only a quarter of the
communications services it needs in the deployed rear area and 2 percent of the investment
needed to support future tactical communications requirements [GCN, March 31, Page
And the Defense Science Board report on defensive information warfare called for
"extraordinary action" to help DOD counter potential cyber attacks against U.S.
forces. The science board's report made recommendations for improving information
security, including a call for DOD to invest more than $3 billion for it over the next
The QDR concluded that despite the "increasing availability and decreasing costs
of sophisticated technology to potential adversaries," DOD's current information
warfare capabilities are "adequate to defend against existing information operations
The report did add, however, that DOD "will allocate adequate resources for these
efforts within [its] information technology investment programs and improve the
Defense-wide planning and implementation process, regularly assessing funding adequacies
for all information assurance program components."
The QDR is only the next-to-last word on C4ISR, however. The National Defense Panel, a
group of academics, industry chiefs and retired general officers, on Dec. 15 will submit
to Congress an independent analysis of the QDR recommendations along with Defense
Secretary William Cohen's comments.
Congress will then approve or disapprove the report. Implementation ultimately will be
decided in negotiations among the administration, DOD and Congress.
The recommendations grew out of consultations among Cohen, the service secretaries, the
joint chiefs, the unified commanders and brass.
"We looked very hard at C4ISR, and it essentially validated the current programs
that we have," said Gen. Joseph Ralston, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"So I think C4ISR came out of the QDR process very well."
Ralston said the investment program outlined in the QDR preserves DOD funding for C4ISR
systems at a level of $257 billion over five years. For fiscal 1998, DOD is seeking $44
billion for C4ISR.
"While a number of programmatic adjustments were evaluated, we did not change the
general focus and amount of resources devoted to C4ISR in the QDR," the report said.
"The net effect of the programmed investments will be to substantially improve our
awareness of various types of enemy forces in the areas adjacent to our forces and at
longer ranges as well."
Even if DOD doesn't bump up funding for tactical communications and information
warfare, the report said the department is committed to achieving global information
According to the QDR, the key to information dominance is an integrated "system of
systems" that will weave intelligence collection and assessment, command and control,
weapons systems and support elements.
DOD's plan for an integrated C4ISR architecture has many parts: a robust multisensor
information grid providing battlefield data, advanced battle-management that for global
forces deployment, information operations to penetrate, manipulate or destroy an
adversary's battlefield systems, a joint communications grid and a defense system to
protect distributed communications networks and systems from attack.