God's Wrath

/ March 11, 2009 at 5:00 AM

In a speech at the National Defense University yesterday, CSIS scholar Anthony Cordesman had this to say about the Quadrennial Defense Review: (Consider yourself warned.)

If God really hates you, you may end up working on a Quadrennial Defense Review: The most pointless and destructive planning effort imaginable. You will waste two years on a document decoupled from a real world force plan, from an honest set of decisions about manpower or procurement, with no clear budget or ((future years defense plan)), and with no metrics to measure or determine its success.

If God merely dislikes you, you may end up helping your service chief or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs draft one of those vague, anodyne strategy documents that is all concepts and no plans or execution.

If God is totally indifferent, you will end up working on our national strategy and simply be irrelevant.

Quite seriously, I have no idea where we lost sight of the fact that policy planning, concepts, and good intentions are not a strategy. The secretary used to issue an annual posture statement that justified the budget request in terms of detailed force plans, procurement plans, and at least some tangible measures of progress. The chairman issued his own statement and views-sometimes explaining and sometimes dissenting. For a while, there were even crude attempts at an annual net assessment.

-- Sebastian Sprenger