Every four years, the U.S. Department of Defense conducts a congressionally mandated review of national defense strategy and priorities known as the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). As the Pentagon concludes its 2010 QDR–the second such review to be conducted in wartime and the first of the Obama administration–join Michèle Flournoy for an assessment of defense policy over the short and long term.
In a time of increasingly scarce resources, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) will be reevaluating spending and reprioritizing defense projects. Please join Ashton B. Carter to discuss the Obama administration’s assessment of defense resources and priorities, and DOD’s shifting relationships with Capitol Hill and the business community.
In the next military budget Congress must provide funding for a wholesale shift toward counterinsurgency to win two wars. At the same time, policymakers must be mindful of the need for another transformation to anticipate future wars.
Authors: Steven Kosiak, Robert L. McClure, Col. Ken Allard, and Lt. Gen. Bernard Trainor
The new Pentagon strategic plan calls for a more mobile, modern U.S. military capable of meeting threats posed by non-state actors like al-Qaeda. Cfr.org inteviews four military experts for their views on whether the Quadrennial Defense Review creates a force that is sustainable and adequate for the task at hand.
President Obama's decision to make Leon Panetta head of the Pentagon and Gen. David Petraeus head of the CIA shows the growing influence of the intelligence agency and its integration with the military, says CFR's Micah Zenko.
Defense-spending cuts should be a big part of a deficit reduction deal, says CFR's Richard Betts, with the Pentagon pursuing a budget that reflects a reduced threat environment and limits the production of expensive, state-of-the-art equipment.
Fifty years after President Eisenhower's warning, the "military-industrial complex" still thrives and dictates national priorities, says CFR's Les Gelb, who argues that President Obama should make a case for building a strong domestic economy as a national security issue.
The Obama administration's proposed defense budget fails to align spending with calls to rebuild the military to handle irregular warfare, says expert Todd Harrison. He also cites an inability to get personnel costs under control.
President Obama's new strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan has drawn praise from U.S. forces and international allies. But Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Adbul Rahim Wardak tells CFR.org that Washington's renewed commitment falls short of previous U.S. commitments.
"At the DFAS offices that handle accounting for the Army, Navy, Air Force and other defense agencies, fudging the accounts with false entries is standard operating procedure, Reuters has found. And plugging isn't confined to DFAS (pronounced DEE-fass). Former military service officials say record-keeping at the operational level throughout the services is rife with made-up numbers to cover lost or missing information."
"[The] country's defense experts and policy makers are now addressing systemic reform and modernization issues, and are talking about breaking down barriers to cooperation with civilian industry and market-driven management."
"Increasingly, without United States assistance, military experts said, Europe's armed forces have trouble carrying out basic operations as its dwindling financial and political commitment has derailed multiple initiatives intended to make the continent more self-reliant."
"The BCA established an automatic process to reduce spending, partially entailing a sequester of budgetary resources, if Congress did not pass and the President did not sign, by January 15, 2012, legislation reducing the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the FY2012-FY2021 period. No such legislation was enacted by the deadline. Therefore, the automatic spending reduction process was triggered."
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »