Quadrennial review to focus on new threats
- By Dawn S. Onley
- Aug 19, 2005
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other military chiefs have been meeting weekly to hammer out the issues current and future forces will face.
The Defense Department will soon be asked to anticipate events two decades into the future.
In February, senior Defense leaders will present to Congress the Quadrennial Defense Review, an exhaustive study conducted every four years that lays out a 20-year projection of Defense transformation.
In the document, DOD officials also will discuss how the department has transformed since the terrorist acts of 2001, which marked the period of the last QDR.
In the last Quadrennial Defense Review, Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld called for increased spending on technology and a focus on the likely new battlegrounds of the 21st century'including space and cyberspace.
'Network-centric warfare underpins a lot of what the department is doing,' said Terry Pudas, acting director of DOD's Office of Force Transformation. 'It's about creating an information advantage and turning that into a competitive advantage.'
Pudas and other senior Defense and service officials spoke late last month at the Joint Force Transformation conference sponsored by the International Institute for Defense in Washington.
Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, officials said, the Defense Department has plowed significant ground in the area of transformation.
Chat rooms are now used as major vehicles to plan strategy and improve warfare tactics. Blue Force Tracking helped troops locate enemy and friendly forces on the battlefield. And unmanned aerial vehicles such as Global Hawks and Predators are providing imagery and boosting situational awareness, said Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy.
Some transformational plans are administrative in nature, Henry added. For example, Northern Command has taken on homeland defense issues. The Strategic Command became the lead for information operations and weapons of mass destruction integration efforts. And the Special Operations Command took on oversight efforts to synchronize global war on terrorism initiatives.
The next QDR is drawing from the lessons learned and progress made since 2001, Henry said.
'We're going into the QDR with a lot of operational know-how,' Henry said.
A high-ranking group of senior Defense and military leaders, from Rumsfeld to undersecretaries and military agency heads, have been meeting weekly in the Pentagon to hammer out the issues current and future forces will face.
'The future force needs to be adaptable,' Henry explained. More emphasis will be placed on integrating the services with coalition, interagency and multinational forces.
A primary goal in formulating the QDR is identifying the next new sources of power and tomorrow's must-have technologies, Pudas said. Most recently, for example, Global Positioning Systems changed the nature of the battlefield, Pudas said, so the QDR will seek to predict new technologies on the horizon that will be as instrumental in aiding warfighters.
Not all of the changes will be technological. Some will be re-sculpting the personnel makeup of the services and DOD agencies to bring more power to warfighters.
From 2006 to 2009, more than 100,000 nontraditional military jobs across the services will move from active military billets to civilian control, Henry said.