Two War Thing Survives

The Clinton "strategy" was to win "two nearly simultaneous 'Major Theater Wars.'" As Rumsfeld aptly points out, this was not a "strategy;" it was a force structure and budget "sizing construct." The new idea is to "swiftly defeat ...overlapping major conflicts [with] the option ... for a decisive victory in one of those conflicts .... [plus conducting] a limited number of smaller-scale contingency operations." (P. 17.)

Comment: The words change; the substance remains, but at least they're not calling it a "strategy."

Technologies

The report generally endorses a hodge-podge of existing not new technologies and declares them "transitional." It gives particular but not exclusive emphasis to national missile defense, space, and what it calls "intelligence" systems.

Comment: The report repeatedly seeks to justify national missile defense. It remains a central focus, but it appears to be extremely self-conscious.

The report confuses data collection sensors on unmanned platforms as "intelligence." Such systems do not constitute intelligence, just as a room full of word processing computers does not constitute literature. Also, the report proposes we expand procurement of the same data collection systems that failed to find tactical targets, such as armored vehicles, in Kosovo. Now we are being told they will find terrorists in Afghanistan. We shall see.

Budget

The report proposes purchases of these and other technologies. It does not propose that any pre-existing hardware programs be cancelled or slowed, and it does urge increased procurement of some "legacy" programs to address inventory aging problems. Part of these (unestimated) costs would be offset by base closings, elimination of excess headquarters staff, and imitating business "streamlining" (very few details provided).

The report also pointedly says, "prior estimates of available resources for defense are no longer accurate. Before the September 2001 attacks, DoD had planned for gradual increases in defense spending accompanied by roughly corresponding internal efficiencies. At this juncture the Defense Department is developing new estimates of needed funding, in line with emerging, new military requirements." (P. 48.)

Comment: Beyond the $18.4 billion 2002 budget amendment, plus the DoD share of the $40 billion emergency supplemental (roughly $20 billion), DoD has been pushing for a second 2002 budget amendment, reported to range from $20 to $40 billion and to be mostly for hardware (and not to include the cost of combat operations later this year). This would bring the DoD "base" from the originally proposed $310 billion to at least $368. Undoubtedly, the proposed 2003 budget would grow off of that "base." The DoD strategy is to buy its way out of its institutional problems.

Base closings are in deep yogurt on Capitol Hill, despite the Senate's rejection of the anti-BRAC Bunning-Lott amendment. Lott now says he has the votes.

Whether DoD will reduce military or civilian "headquarters" staff (including OSD?) remains to be seen.

Imitate business practices? Been there; done that (DoD style) many times. Still waiting for change in a positive direction.

The offsets to the additional expenses will not happen; the budget increases will happen. Meaningful change except in the budget numbers is not currently programmed to happen.

Final Comment

Given his statements that cruise missiles and long range bombers are irrelevant, Rumsfeld clearly understands much about the conflict we are now fighting. His understanding is further demonstrated by the deployment of only modest numbers of light infantry to Central Asia and the Arabian Sea and, more importantly, by his acceptance of the Bush/Powell strategy to acquire a broad coalition, to isolate and sow disruption amongst the Taliban/Bin Laden opposition, to avoid the "blunderbluss" approach urged by senior DoD civilians immediately below Rumsfeld, and to lean on local "assets" to fight the local conflict. The QDR Report does not reflect this (i.e. Rumsfeld's) understanding of 4th generation warfare.

Focusing on, and spending for, a nonexistent form of warfare as proposed by the QDR will inhibit our efforts to fight the conflict we are actually in. If we are lucky, the QDR the product of an OSD staff busily pushing agendas that are utterly disconnected from the real world will be overtaken by events.

QDR Page

 

The New QDR: All You Need to Know
in One Painless Page

By "A Senior Congressional Staffer"