Under Review, Under Wraps

By Sebastian Sprenger / April 26, 2011 at 6:31 PM

While defense leaders have been giving the impression that a review of military missions, as mandated by President Obama, is just getting under way, the Joint Staff had begun work on such a thing shortly before the president's April 13 speech, we're told by several officials.

A classified tasker from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, handed down about a week before the POTUS address, asked military leaders to look for "options" in the face of the strategic and "domestic" -- read fiscal -- environment, one source said.

Of course, Adm. Mike Mullen has noted for some time that the nation's debt is a key threat to national security.

After the Obama speech, the Mullen tasker seems to have become something of a nucleus for the kind of review that the president mandated. A follow-on phase, with more detailed guidance on world regions and DOD capabilities, just got started, we're told.

The Joint Staff's J-8 directorate and the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office on the one side, and the J-5 and the Pentagon's policy shop on the other, are key players in the effort, with one team looking at resources and the other examining strategic options, according to sources.