Though the pending Quadrennial Defense Review could serve as a "powerful tool" in the Defense Department's strategy and planning, a new report warns that it "may be overly optimistic to hope for dramatic improvements as a result of President Obama's first QDR."
The report, titled "The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review: A+, F, or Dead on Arrival?" and authored by Erin Fitzgerald and Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, argues that past QDRs have "been decoupled from meaningful budget figures, realistic force plans, honest procurement decisions, and metrics to measure the success of their recommendations.
"As a result of this strategy-reality gap between concepts and resources, they have had limited practical value," the document continues.
The report contends that a clear strategy is particularly required in the wake of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' program cancellations and cutbacks.
"The 2010 QDR has the potential to be the next step in the reform process and to institutionalize the reforms Gates initiated with his budget cuts," the report says. "It is unclear the extent to which it will realize its potential, given the scale of the need to make meaningful decisions, create an affordable force posture and plan, fund credible levels of manpower and readiness, fully restructure the Department’s failed procurement plans, and ((deal)) with the real world cost and program impact of two ongoing wars."
Additionally, producing a valuable QDR requires closely linking "central concepts to meaningful budget figures, realistic force plans, honest procurement decisions, and metrics to measures its success," the report contends.
In this review, it says, "((i))nstitutional inertia may be too powerful, and the tendency to issue another conceptual document that is not translated into operation((al)) realities may be too great."