The Pentagon’s Papers

Last week, the Department of Defense announced it was preparing to conduct its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, or QDR, and released its “terms of reference” that set the stage for the larger report. In theory, the QDR is meant to outline the Defense Department’s strategy and priorities. In the past, it has been an unrealistic exercise. This is unlikely to change.  

In order to exercise its “power of the purse,” Congress has required that the president not only issue a QDR (obviously every four years) but also a national-security strategy, or NSS, annually. To start, this NSS—which represents the president’s thinking on the threats to America’s national security—should provide guidance for the Department of Defense and, thus, the QDR. We have yet to see this happen.

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