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Wolfowitz Tells Senate About QDR

Wolfowitz Tells Senate About QDR

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) October 5, 2001 -- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told senators that even as the war on terrorism continues, the U.S. military needs to transform to face the threats of the new century.

Wolfowitz discussed the results of the Quadrennial Defense Review with the Senate Armed Services Committee Oct. 4.

DoD delivered the report to Congress on Sept. 30. Wolfowitz said that while the terror attacks of Sept. 11 influenced the report, most of the work had been accomplished before then.

"On Sept. 12, we asked ourselves ... , did it make any sense o complete the Quadrennial Defense Review in the form that it essentially reached as of the time of the terrorist attacks, or should we just simply put it on the shelf and start all over again?" he said. "We concluded ... that the Quadrennial Defense Review has set some very important directions, whose importance and accuracy (are) confirmed by the events of Sept. 11."

Even before the attacks, DoD was committed to moving toward combating the asymmetrical threats terrorism represents. If anything, Wolfowitz said, the attacks confirmed "that we need to move in those directions more rapidly and with more resources."

The most important aspect of the QDR is it draws the road map for what capabilities the military should have in 10 years. Wolfowitz said the report represents major changes in the way the department thinks about its long-term requirements. He said such changes are difficult for a large organization to make, and they will not be done overnight.

The most important change deals with the emphasis on establishing homeland defense as the top DoD priority. "One of the conclusions we reached in the review is that we are just ... at really a very early stage of figuring out what the role of the Department of Defense might be, for example, in responding to a major act of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction," he said. "We have got to accelerate that work and get moving with it even faster. It's not something, obviously, to put on the shelf."

A second emphasis in the new model is the emphasis on uncertainty and surprise. He said surprise has been a favored tactic through history. America needs intelligence assets to counter these threats, but also forces flexible enough "to respond to the unexpected, not simply to preview and predict the unexpected."

The QDR emphasizes countering asymmetrical threats such as

the country saw in New York and Washington. "There are a variety of others (threats)," he said. He said enemies have learned not to challenge American military strength, but perceived American weaknesses. "They are going to look for places where we are weak, and they are going to try to attack those weaknesses, and we need to figure out how to deal with them," Wolfowitz said.

The QDR also looks at new forms of deterrence. This does not mean the old forms -- nuclear retaliation, for example -- are dismissed, but that America needs the capabilities to deter other forms of violence directed against it.

Wolfowitz explained the new force-sizing construct proposed in the QDR. According to the report, he said, U.S. forces need to be able to first defend America. Second, engage and defeat two regional foes - one of them decisively. Third, continue with smaller scale operations. He said the force should remain roughly the same size it is today, but with changes in structure and locations.

Related Site of Interest:

  • Prepared Testimony: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Oct. 4, 2001.
 

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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