Why was I neglecting this blog today? Because I was reporting this piece for the Washington Independent about what the QDR will contain:

In its master planning document for the medium-term defense outlook, known as the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon will announce cuts to some Navy and Air Force programs. The Pentagon will not purchase any more of the costly C-17 transport aircraft for the Air Force. It will delay purchase of the Navy’s LCC command ship. It will cancel production of the Navy’s planned CG(X) cruiser. And it will contend that these steps and others are necessary for reorienting the U.S.’s defense posture around the wars the U.S. is fighting now and the threats it presently faces.

According to a knowledgeable Defense official who requested anonymity, the cuts in the QDR will not be as extensive as the ones announced in last year’s Pentagon budget. Last spring, Defense Secretary Robert Gatesended several persistent, expensive and underutilized or unproven defense systems like the F-22 fighter jet and the Army’s Future Combat Systems vehicle, steps lauded by defense reformers and the subject of a tough but successful congressional fight. Those cuts “created the space for the QDR to focus on areas of reinvestment,” the Defense official told TWI.

I’d really encourage you to read the whole thing. The program cuts are the sexy part, but the stuff that I think is the most important concerns the QDR’s reorientation away from specific enemies and towards countering threatening capabilities. Frankly, that’s a mature approach and I’m psyched to see it. I also love this quote:

“We’ll take some hits for not having a bumper-sticker force planning construct, but screw it,” the Pentagon official said. “The world is complicated.”

Cold as ice. OK, now lunchtime.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman