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I think you are referencing an outdated statute. As of January 2008,

(b) Independent military assessment of roles and missions.--(1) In each year in which the Secretary of Defense is required to conduct a comprehensive assessment pursuant to subsection (a), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall prepare and submit to the Secretary the Chairman's assessment of the roles and missions of the armed forces and the assignment of functions to the armed forces, together with any recommendations for changes in assignment that the Chairman considers necessary to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness of the armed forces.


Not saying you're wrong, but I don't really see anything in that paragraph superceding the FY 07 language to align the QDR with budget considerations.


Yea, wasn't trying to attack your post. Just providing the updated text.


It's not that Spencer's referencing an outdated statute, but rather that the CNAS report incorrectly denoted the appropriate section of the law. The one reproduced above is 10 USC § 118 (b) (4) -- that is, Section 118, paragraph b, subparagraph 4. (10 USC § 118b is a separate section, and the language Kyle reproduced above is from 10 USC § 118b (b) (1).)

I'll have a post coming on more substantive matters related to this one in the afternoon.


Apparently it won't take my links, but you can cut-and-paste urls if you want to compare:

10 USC § 118 (b)(4): http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode10/usc_sec_10_00000118----000-.html

10 USC § 118b (b)(1): http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode10/usc_sec_10_00000118---b000-.html

I'll have a post coming on more substantive matters related to this one in the afternoon.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "credulous." I'm also not quite sure that I'm "argu[ing] that the footnote is actually wrong about the law's mandate for the QDR." What I'm "arguing" is that the law mandates that the QDR should be conducted with a view to what capabilities, force structure, etc. are required to execute the NSS notwithstanding the President's budget request... which isn't so much a matter of interpretation as of fact.

Jim Thompson

A comment that has nothing to do with citations/references, but has direct bearing upon the purpose for the documents being discussed.

Though I have not been a part of the QDR, it is important to realize the QDR is a document that discussed the position or the situation of the DOD in what they consider to be a "period of persistent conflict". The QDR is used to observe and discuss needs which amount to courses of action at the strategic level. It is proper to develop a full menu of strategic options without the constraint of budget. The reason this is done because if you apply contraints too early in the analytic cycle you may disallow a winning approach or strategy because you never allowed it to mature, never evaluated it using the same criteria used to anayse the more "affordable" strategies.

If an expensive strategy brings victory, then it remains a valid strategy. If you can't afford it, well, that's a different thing - but at least you concieved of it, evaluated it.

You don't constrain yourself in the development of grand strategy. You constrain it in the analysis and course of action selection process. At the strategic level, let the big dogs run.

Cheers - JT


As the HASC staffer who worked the QDR provisions, when Gulliver writes

"This is Congress saying to the Pentagon "do not take the president's guidance about future funding levels as an appetite supressant. Tell us what you need to defend the country and we'll worry about getting the cash."

he gets it exactly right.


Mark, you know I love you. But do you really consider that provision to be responsible policymaking? It leaves the door massively open in the hallways of the Pentagon to profligacy and an imbalance between the ends and means of defense. That's exactly what's happened over the past few years. Shouldn't the QDR take budget constraints into effect?


Spencer -- Again, you're misreading the law. The Defense Department isn't creating the "imbalance between the ends and means of defense"; that's a matter of bad strategy. The legislation directs the military to outline what's required to execute the missions it's been assigned (or more accurately, the missions it has determined it will need to execute in support of the "strategy" that's been developed by the White House); if that review isn't conducted in a resource-constrained fashion, it simply serves to highlight the disparity between what the administration is expecting and the resources it's providing to meet those expectations.

That may be "just politics," but it's smart politics. Of course, the problem now is that instead of holding the strategists to account, the Hill (or at least the HASC) wants to go after the budgeteers.

Belstaff Jacket Store

So fun article is! I know more from it.

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