The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, Subtitle B, Section 923 (c), directs that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff provide an independent assessment of the Quadrennial Defense Review to the Secretary of Defense.
From the beginning, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Services, and the Combatant Commanders have worked together closely to ensure an open exchange of views and the greatest possible consensus. From the beginning, as well, it was agreed that the QDR had to be based on the strategy and that all recommended changes to the force structure and defense programs had to be tested against the proposed strategy.
The recommended changes outlined in your QDR report will strengthen our armed forces and provide our nation over the long term with the strong defense programs needed to protect America's interests well into the next century. However, for the QDR to have the desired effect, we must ensure that the savings it identifies be redirected to preserve our procurement accounts, to fix recently emerging readiness problems, and to do all that is necessary to maintain faith with our people, both military and civilian.
The QDR started with a thorough, collaborative analysis of the future worldwide security environment. This process developed consensus on the complex world we will deal with in the near term, and the potentially more dangerous one we will face in the future. The conclusions which emerged and which guided the development of our defense strategy have my full agreement.
Today we are presented with a unique strategic opportunity. For more than 50 years we were constrained by a bipolar rivalry with a superpower adversary. To deal with such a world, we relied on a strategy of containment and designed our military forces to react in case the strategy failed. Today and tomorrow, we have an opportunity to pursue a strategy of engagement and to design a military force to help the strategy succeed.
I fully agree with the defense strategy of helping to shape the environment to promote U.S. interests abroad; of being prepared to respond with ready forces to crises from smaller-scale contingency operations to major theater wars; and of preparing now for an uncertain future.
The more effectively we shape the environment, the less often we will have to respond to near-term crises. The more effectively we prepare for the future, the less risk we will run in dealing with crises in the longer term.
I support the QDR's recommendation to retain the capability to fight and win two overlapping major theater wars. In the near term, there are two regions, the Korean peninsula and the Middle East, where our national interests are at risk. In the longer term, regardless of how these potential crises are resolved, the United States will continue to have enduring national interests in separate areas of the world. If our country wishes to remain a global power, we will have to retain the capability to fight and win in more than one region at a time. The credible capacity to do so may mean we never have to use it.
Our challenge is to balance risk between near-term requirements and the need to prepare for the longer term. We must dominate the future battlefield, where technology will change the face of warfare, as we dominate it today. We must start now to prepare for a potentially more dangerous future which promises continuing risks and challenges, including asymmetric threats such as terrorism, chemical and biological weapons, and information warfare.
The force structure and defense program recommendations in the QDR are based on a most extensive body of analysis. In my professional judgment, the resultant force is the minimum required to execute the strategy, and further reductions in combat structure would require a reevaluation of our strategy.
The QDR reaffirmed the need to retain a nuclear deterrent based on a triad of forces, as well as to retain 10 Army divisions, 12 aircraft carriers, 20 fighter wings, and three Marine Expeditionary Forces. It reaffirmed, as well, the requirement to keep approximately 100,000 personnel forward deployed both in Europe and in the Pacific and to regularly deploy naval, air, ground, and amphibious forces around the world.
On the other hand, analysis indicated that some restructuring of the force and the end strength reductions recommended in the QDR report can be accomplished with minimal impact on the combat force.
The strategy-based force assessment fully validates the specific recommendations to reduce selected National Guard units. The Army must restructure and downsize Guard units better to reflect requirements for federal and state missions and shed force structure retained from Cold War requirements for a strategic hedge. Given today's regional threats, the strategic hedge can be reduced and transitioned into capabilities that have greater utility across the entire spectrum, and fill a long-standing void in the support structure for sustained combat operations. The QDR adjusts National Guard end strength to improve its relevance in support of the defense strategy.
The assessment validated continued support for our airlift and sealift enhancement plans, but we must solve emerging problems in en route infrastructure.
Coincident to the QDR requirement to comment on revisions to the Unified Command Plan (UCP), the Joint Staff is conducting a biennial review as required by Title 10 of the U.S. Code. The UCP review process will be complete in fall 1997. Based on the review to date, it appears that the basic structure of the UCP is sound.
This QDR assessment process has highlighted the need for better analytical models that will allow us to accurately and rapidly conduct future force requirements analysis. These analytical tools need to capture the interaction of key variables in force-on-force assessments across the spectrum of military operations, from smaller-scale contingencies through major theater war. While professional judgment will always be required to use and interpret the models, we need better tools to conduct the analytical assessments of warfighting risk.
I strongly encourage a cooperative effort by the Executive Branch and Congress to follow through on reengineering of our infrastructure. The most prudent solution to fulfilling all three parts of the strategy is to "preserve the teeth by cutting the tail." We need to get every dollar we can by reducing our infrastructure - to include committing ourselves to two BRAC rounds and the necessary changes in law to permit further outsourcing. Ultimately, we must commit ourselves to a major reengineering of our infrastructure. Without that reengineering, the pattern of the last four years is likely to continue - investment programs will be cut and the force of the future will be sold to pay current operations and support bills. In short, we will not be able to realize the promise inherent in the Revolution in Military Affairs unless we embrace the revolution in business affairs.
As savings are realized from our force adjustments and the infrastructure reengineering, they must be applied to preserve the key modernization programs that prepare us for the future. Our QDR assessment concludes that developments in technology and future threats will erode current U.S. dominance unless we take strong steps. We must raise the level of defense procurement in order to improve capabilities in the long term. The QDR recommendations establish adequate procurement levels in the 2001 through 2003 time frame. The QDR also concludes we should ensure long-term warfighting capability by stabilizing procurement at planned levels and appropriately funding our operations and support. In order to accomplish this, the QDR recommends accepting the risk associated with thinning our active and reserve end strength, and our civilian manpower, and by restructuring a number of our weapons programs. I concur with the recommendations.
We must take a long-term view . . . 2010 and beyond. The initiatives undertaken as a result of this QDR will provide the nation with the military capabilities it needs, while achieving greater balance in the defense program. Reengineering of the defense infrastructure must make available the resources necessary to build the force with the capabilities articulated in Joint Vision 2010 and spelled out in the Services' visions.
The future offers us great opportunities. Warfare is changing with the growth of technological change, and we must not only stay abreast of it, but dominate it. Remarkable advances in information technology, stealth, and precision strike promise a real revolution in military affairs. But implementing the RMA will require a sustained effort, a process of balanced evolution toward revolutionary capabilities. Joint Vision 2010 provides a prudent vector for combining revolutionary technical advances with new operational concepts to give us a force to dominate any future battlefield.
The QDR recommendations maintain a ready force while going a long way towards stabilizing the procurement necessary to build the force for the future. This stabilized procurement presents an opportunity to synchronize the development and fielding of advanced technologies with bold experimentation in the development of future joint capabilities. The Department faces an unprecedented challenge: transforming our military capabilities while supporting our role as the world's only remaining superpower. The key will be to manage the rate of change to achieve future capabilities without degrading present readiness. The QDR sets us on the correct path.
The QDR highlighted once again that our major strength is our men and women and that our highest priority must be their welfare and that of their families. We have as fine a force as we have ever fielded and it must be preserved for our nation's future. Only the highest quality, dedicated, and well trained personnel with first-class leaders will be able to succeed in the complex and fast-paced environment of future military operations. Recruiting and retaining the best people the United States has to offer, committing to their continual professional development, providing them with challenging and fulfilling careers, and ensuring their quality of life must remain our top priorities. Pay and benefits are only part of the answer. We must provide a reasonable degree of stability for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines after having committed them to operations, deployments, or hardship assignments.
I am concerned about our high operating tempo. We are beginning to understand the many complex factors that drive this tempo, from routine training to major deployments. With the Combatant Commanders and Service Chiefs, we are developing the tools to assess and manage the strain on people of training, exercises, and operations demanded by our strategy. We will continue to develop our management information and policies until we can carry out the strategy without over-stressing the force. This initiative will take the leadership and cooperation of the Secretary, myself, the Service Chiefs, and the Combatant Commanders. We have no more important task.
There are a number of actions we can and will take now to reduce the pressure on the force: we will continue to reduce the stress on especially busy units, we will trim total exercise activity, and we will lower the turbulence in deploying units.
Because the QDR recommends further personnel reductions, we must have the proper programs in place with adequate resources to carry out these reductions in a manner that honors our obligations to those who have served us so well.
The Quadrennial Defense Review proposes the correct strategy to protect our interests today and into the future. It makes proper end strength reductions, program adjustments, and reengineering of our infrastructure to prudently balance near-, mid, and long-term risks.
The QDR embraces three steps in reforming our program. First, a vision; and we have one in Joint Vision 2010, supported by each Service's vision. Second, investment to both recapitalize and modernize the force. The QDR modernization decisions are investments in the right capabilities. Third, a stabilized future defense program so that we can execute procurement as planned. Our ability to have the resources in the long term to maintain the best military force in the world will depend to a large measure on our success in reengineering the infrastructure.
This has been a major effort. It was grounded
from beginning to end, in strategy. It encouraged innovative
thinking, but it set as its standard whether the recommendations
will lead to a balanced, joint force best suited over the near,
mid, and long term to protect America's interests. I fully support
the recommendations of this Quadrennial Defense Review.
JOHN M. SHALIKASHVILI
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
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