2010 Quadrennial Defense Review

The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) was published this Monday. A cornerstone of defense planning and budgeting, the QDR is published every four years to explain the Defense Department's strategic direction to Congress. The current version was started under President Bush but refined over the past year as the Obama team entered office. It will define a strategic direction of the U.S. military for the rest President Obama's term.

"Vision Meets Reality: 2010 QDR and 2011 Defense Budget", a policy brief by Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Research Associate Travis Sharp, summarizes the 2010 QDR by saying:
The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) portrays the security challenges of the future as fundamentally different from those of the past. In the 21st century, conventional U.S. military superiority will increasingly drive potential adversaries toward asymmetric responses to American power. Recognizing this new state of affairs, the QDR emphasizes the non-traditional threats posed by WMD terrorist attacks, hybrid warfare combining high- and low-tech tactics, and the loss of shared access to the global commons in air, sea, space, and cyberspace. Even potential competitors like China are more likely to attack the United States using asymmetric means, such as by countering American power in cyberspace rather than in a blue-water naval battle in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Together, these asymeteric security challenges could erode America’s freedom of action and ability to influence the course of world events in the years ahead – if the United States does not begin to prepare for them now.
He concludes, "Closing the distance between strategic priorities listed in the QDR and realistic plans to implement them will prove a major challenge in 2010 due to persistent structural constraints on reallocating defense spending."

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