Asst. Sec. of Defense (Public Affairs) Rear Adm. Craig Quigley
Background Briefing on the Quadrenniel Defense Review (QDR)
October 1, 2001
1:30 P.M. EDT
QUIGLEY: Ladies and gentlemen, the Quadrennial Defense Review is a process that's
been going on for eight months now, nine months now, ever since this administration
came into office. That product was delivered yesterday to some of the oversight
committees on the Hill, in larger numbers today. For those of you who had an
interest, we handed out paper copies, I guess an hour and a half ago, for your
And here to highlight a couple of those points and take your questions for just
30 minutes before he and I have to be in another event is this senior Defense
QUIGLEY: So with that, I will turn it over to him. Thank you, sir.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes, it ended. That is, the Quadrennial Defense Review
This is it, for those of you who haven't seen it. There are copies that are
available. It is a report that is some 65 pages in length. And that, in its
own right, I think, is a success, which is to say it is not a long compendium
of every issue that confronts the department, but is a concerted effort to try
to concentrate on those items which the secretary -- the Defense secretary,
the chairman, the vice chairman, the service secretaries, the service chiefs,
the combatant commanders, and the lead undersecretaries in the department have
all agreed upon.
As you know, the effort began in June, mid-June, with the aim of having a conclusion
in hand by the due date on the 30th of September. It -- that date was met. The
report was delivered, as Admiral Quigley said, this morning on the Hill, and
it was signed out yesterday.
I will touch on a handful of the major points of it and then take questions
from you, if that's acceptable to you. There are a handful of points, and let
me start with the point about surprise and uncertainty.
The report was animated in large measure by the notion that while it is possible
for us to imagine how we might be confronted with danger in the future, it was
not always clear from whence it would come or in what manner the threats would
materialize. But we were certain that we were going to face surprises as time
went by, that the likelihood of being surprised would increase as time went
by, principally because of two things: one, the international situation itself
continues to evolve and to evolve very rapidly; and second, we live in age in
which the availability of the means of conducting surprise or making surprises
Countries are able to gain the technical means of doing it on the global market.
They are capable of moving freely through the international system. And there
are, unfortunately, many entities and states who are prepared to support those
who would care to bring about the kinds of events that we saw on the 11th of
So clearly, we were conscious of the fact that surprise and uncertainty, in
that sense, was facing us as we went into the future.
There is, I think, in this report, less uncertainty about being uncertain. And
I don't mean to play on words here. We went through most of the '90s with the
idea of uncertainty as a general proposition for the way in which we would --
the future would unfold. It seemed to us that the environment itself was becoming
less uncertain, even if we weren't quite certain how the surprises would come
at us over time.
Forward deterrence. The report is very strong on the notion that the United
States must continue to conduct its affairs out in the world. It is very strong
on the notion that the ability to defend here at home depends upon our ability
to work with our friends and allies abroad, to deter threats both on a regional
and a global scale. And I think that you saw in the expression of solidarity
out of NATO, on the Article V commitment to the United States, and from the
expressions of support that we received from other friends and allies around
the world, that they understand that we need to be defended at home, and to
be able to be defended at home in order for us to work forward. So there is
an interesting sort of new relationship that is evolving here wherein the importance
of the United States being forward and being defended at home at the same time
is coming to be understood in a way that perhaps it had not been before.
Asymmetric threats. Even before the September 11th events, the QDR concluded
that terrorism, chemical and biological weapons, cyberattacks, missile threats,
and the like, would transform the landscape in which we live. As I mentioned
a moment ago, adversaries are acquiring such systems, and they've designed those
systems and their acquisition to circumvent our conventional military capabilities.
It is not a surprise that we were attacked in a way that our conventional military
forces were not designed to defend against at that moment.
The report does conclude that we should anticipate and be prepared to deal with
those asymmetric threats both to the United States and to the homelands of our
friends and adversaries (sic), as well as to our forces abroad.
Which leads me to the notion about homeland security. Throughout the summer,
the senior civilian and military leaders here worked very hard to develop what
you will find in the report is a new approach to sizing our forces. We were
looking in that effort to identify the things that we thought the force would
actually be called upon to do in all of its dimensions, and to broaden our notion
of how we size the force from the two MTW [major theater war] concept, which
had dominated our thinking for the -- for most of the '90s and in fact back
into the late '80s -- to expand that notion for force-sizing to include not
only major conflicts, but also, for example, smaller-scale contingencies, peace-keeping
operations, noncombatant evacuations, and the like, but also to lay to lay a
stress on the need for a force, or a portion of the force structured and committed
to homeland security.
And so in the document, the lead force-sizing criteria is indeed for the capability
to conduct homeland security. And it is our view that in the end, that will
be a task that will be in large part taken up by the Guard and the Reserve,
but not entirely. As you can see by just the reaction here on the 11th of September,
we are going to have to work some mix of both the Guard and Reserve on the one
hand, and the active component on the other in order to be able to have a seamless
defensive capability that extends from our defensive efforts abroad to our active
defensive efforts here at home, along with passive efforts having to do with
consequence management and things of that sort.
In the end, in order to be able to accommodate what needs to be done in homeland
security, we're undoubtedly going to have to go in and look at the Unified Command
Plan, which is the basis upon which the department allocates its forces and
defines the missions and roles for each of its commands.
We spent a good deal of time, interestingly enough, thinking about risk and
how do we assess risk. And four elements of risk were identified in the report,
and they, I believe, are detailed at the end. The first had to do with what's
called force management, what in the late '90s was worried about as optempo,
the operational tempo of the force, and perstempo, the rate at which our people
were shuffled from job to job, and the balance of their time on the job abroad
as opposed to their being at home and being able to be trained. So we talked
about force management a great deal -- how do we get our arms around that problem?
Secondly, we talked about operational risk, how in any given situation we can
assure that our forces are not put at any undue -- unnecessary risk in order
to be able to achieve the mission. And so that goes to the question of how they're
manned, trained, equipped and deployed.
The third element had to do with what was called future challenges, essentially.
That is, how is it that in dealing with near-term operational risks -- and you
can see it unfolding before you today -- how do you balance the need to be able
to do that, to have the forces ready to do that -- that is, your force management
regulated in such a way that your people are ready to go -- with the need to
put time, resources, training and effort against the transformation of the force?
And so we spend a good deal of time trying to work our way through that sort
of three-sided problem when it comes to risk.
But there's a fourth element of risk that was identified that is equally important
and oftentimes overlooked, and that had to do with, if you want, business management.
How are we arranged to conduct the business of the defense establishment as
a whole? What are the acquisition policies going to be? How are we going to
work on financial management? How do we track our spending? In short, if we
can't take that portion of the defense establishment that is associated with
the purchasing and supplying of the means of our forces to do their job, we
will never be able to transform the department. A 1950 system for acquiring
materiel is not going to work in a 21st century environment. So we have got
to change that business practice as well. And that is a risk, clearly, that
if we don't make the change, it will be very difficult for us to be successful
with respect to the other three.
Transforming capabilities. This is the watchword. It goes back to the president's
statement at the Citadel prior to the campaign (sic). It is an issue that the
secretary took up in his testimony when he was before the Congress -- before
the Senate, rather, for his confirmation, and it is one that animated the effort
that you see here in the QDR.
And what we did is we identified six critical operational challenges that we
believe the force, and the defense establishment as a whole, is going to have
to meet in the coming years, and in order to do so, is going to have to transform
its approaches to operational concepts. It's going to have to transform its
capabilities. It's going to have to learn how to take what is called legacy
systems and infuse them with new technologies to lend them new capability. It's
going to have to think about new organizational arrangements, and I'll address
some of that in a moment.
And then it has to take all of that and pull it together to address the following
operational challenges that were identified.
The first was protecting the base of operations, and that is a term which is
meant to apply at all three levels of military activity. That is to say, at
the tactical level, we clearly have to protect the base of operations. It's
otherwise known as force protection. If you can't protect the [USS] Cole, if
you can't protect the embassies, if you can't protect the ports and airfields,
you can't possibly go about conducting your military operations.
It's also meant at the operational level. You have to be able to protect the
command centers, you have to be able to lend support to your allies in defending
their own territory against aggression, and so forth.
And it's meant, finally, at the strategic level, which is the defense of the
United States, its people, and its way of life.
And so clearly, if we had to be able to protect that base of operation, and
as I said a moment ago, we needed to do it against not only the kinds of missiles
and missile threats and cyberthreats that we've all become so used to, but the
QDR clearly called for an effort to protect them against terrorism as well.
Information operations was the second area that we called out as important for
transformational purposes. I don't think I need to develop that point here with
Projecting power into anti-access environments. As you look around the world,
you'll notice that, for example, surface-to-air missile systems are becoming
the most prominent new method of a state acquiring the means of defending itself,
and there's a reason for that. It's because air operations are a critical component
of any modern warfare capability, and the ability of a state to defend against
it is important and contributes to their ability to prevent others to have access.
Mine warfare, conventional submarines, fast torpedo boats -- I mean, these are
the things that states are turning to as a way of building a barrier to entry
into areas which they would like to deny to the United States, its allies, and
Third, we identified the need to deprive adversaries of what might be called
sanctuary -- that is, the ability of an adversary to hide, to deceive, to make
it difficult for us to find them, to go deep inside of their territory, where
they might not be able to be reached by the kinds of aircraft and ships we currently
deploy. So there's got to be a way in which it's possible for us to reach, on
a global basis, to find the ability to strike where we need to against adversaries.
Space operations. As most of you know, that -- this is an issue that has gained
prominence over the last 18 months or more, and we can see it unfolding even
in this conflict, as communications fly back and forth.
You may all recall that your cell phones went dead on the 11th of September,
as the system overloaded. Well, part of that has to do with how much of it we
can move -- that is communications can move along land lines as opposed to through
space, and we need to pay attention to our ability to continue to communicate
to, from and in space.
And then lastly, leveraging information technology. Not a point I need to dwell
on here. If we can't do I.T. in this department, we're never going to get to
where we want to go. And we have to learn how to do it -- we have to learn to
do it in a way that gives all of our combatant commanders, as well as the senior
political and military leadership of the country, what is called a common operational
or strategic picture; that is, taking all that information that floods around
the world and finding a way to synthesize it, fuse it, and present it so that
decision-makers have a good sense of what's going on in the world around them
and are capable of making decisions that are appropriate to the circumstances.
And then last, I mentioned a moment ago the force-sizing construct. You have
had the secretary of Defense on this podium any number of times to take you
through that. And I wouldn't want to try in any way to defuse any of his definitions
for you, but let me give it a shot.
What we're looking to do is we're looking to have a force -- and I've mentioned
the components of it now -- which is sized to be able to, first and foremost,
defend the United States, the base of operations. Secondly, capable of defending
or deterring forward; that is a force which over time their capability will
be increased as a consequence of our transformational capability. And that force
forward, we think ought to be sized sufficiently such that in any two conflicts,
it is capable of defeating the objectives -- the efforts of an adversary. And
that means, in my parlance, "win." I mean, it is to say, under those
circumstances, be able to win a conflict in two overlapping time frames.
Now, as an aside, there was one sort of conceptual thought that we did not get
into this report, and that is that one of those conflicts could, in fact, be
a global terrorism campaign, as opposed to a regional campaign. And, in fact,
what we are engaged in now is one of those regional -- one of those conflicts
that I described a moment ago, in which we are bound and determined to win.
So having sized the force, to deter forward, and be able to win in two overlapping
conflicts, we also said that we had to size the force sufficiently such that
if the president should ever decide that he wished to not simply win the war,
but to decisively defeat an adversary, and as the secretary has described it
to you, marching to capitals and overthrowing the regime, then the president
ought to have the wherewithal to do that in any one of those two conflicts.
And so then "How do you size the force?" gets to be the operative
question. I'm sorry, there's one other piece to it. We had to have enough to
conduct small-scale contingencies as well.
So that was the force-sizing construct that we laid down, to which, as I say,
all of those who have participated in this effort have agreed and the basis
upon which we will go forward from here.
QUESTION: When you talk about conflicts and the two major conflicts, and you
talk about a conflict such as the one we're in now against terrorism, are you
speaking about the mobilization of forces in the Middle East or actually forces
in the U.S. protecting the homeland? Are those two different things or all in
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: They're all in one. This is a global campaign in which
we happened for the moment to have activity going on most visibly here at home
and in the Southwest Asia region. But it is a global undertaking.
QUESTION: How do you deprive the enemy of his or her sanctuary? Can you run
us through your --
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yes. Part of it has to be cooperation with our friends,
allies and other states willing to cooperate with us. You can see it unfolding
before your eyes in the case of Afghanistan, can't you? It means that we have
to have the ability to have intelligence which sees beyond the horizon. It has
to mean communications to allow us to move rapidly. And it means having the
wherewithal to move our forces quickly and then to strike at long range if that's
necessary. So it's that combination, a complex of capabilities, which we need
to transform the force to get.
Q Can you get more specific about sizing? I mean, earlier this summer there
was talk about cutting four Guard divisions, for example, to make ends meet,
particularly for missile defense and ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance].
Since September 11th, has that all changed now? I mean, do you see the force
maybe staying as it is now, 1.4 million active, or perhaps even increases?
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Let me, at the risk of being contradicted -- I don't
know that there was ever a strong push to cut the force. What we had was --
QUESTION: There were some proposals, though, weren't there?
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: There were a thousand of them.
What we had was a review of capability broadly. And then you ask yourself the
question, across the range of capability we require, is the force as we have
it today properly sized? Is it properly equipped? How do we balance between
our near-term risks and our long-term needs for transition? And you do that
in the context of some finite projections on budgets, and you start to move
the variables around on the board.
Where the report came out in the end -- and it came out there prior to the 11th
of September -- was that it looked like the force was about where it needed
to be, in terms of being able to do two things that needed to be done simultaneously.
One, meet the near-term risk -- that is, conduct the war that we're presently
engaged in, while at the same time having sufficient reserve within it to do
the kind of experimentation and change that we're going to need over time to
bring it into a different format.
So in the end, what we did is we kept moving the pieces around the board, asking
ourselves, do we like this picture? Do we like this -- which one do we like?
And in the end, it came out with the force pretty much where it is now.
QUESTION: One other question, too. The Guard and Reserve, you said, will do
a lot of the homeland defense --
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I think that's the expectation. I don't think that's
a decision. You -- no one should walk out of here with a decision's been taken.
What it is, is people are beginning to ask themselves, how would we make use
of the Guard and Reserve?
QUESTION: They're pretty busy now with peacekeeping duties and so forth.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: They're busy everywhere.
QUESTION: So, as far as more training for them, time away from their families
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: We're not done with -- that's -- the piece that needed
to be done is the Guard and Reserve and we'll turn our attention to that next.
QUESTION: Can you say whether in the current campaign you're up against any
of the so-called high-density, low-demand -- sorry, high-demand, low-density
issues? And more generally, how, as you move to a capabilities model, how do
you deal with that problem?
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I won't answer the specific point, but I will say that
the issue of high-demand, low-density assets -- that is, U-2 aircraft and combat
search and rescue helicopters and things like that -- they are managed in a
central way here in the department. They were identified as an area of concern
in the report, and one into which in fact more attention -- toward which more
attention is being paid. And if we're going to have the capability that we're
talking about for the future, that problem is going to have to be overcome.
QUESTION: Why was there no mention of specific systems in the report, in terms
of -- I mean, I was wondering if that -- if there was a reason for that, or
was it -- were there ever slated? I mean, in the previous QDR, we had a specific
lay-down of how many of these systems were expected. What's changed between
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Well -- between '97 and now.
The guidance that we were given was that we were not going to do a budget-driven
or platform-dominated look. What the secretary wanted and what the president
asked for was a strategic perspective on what it is we wanted to do. This report,
coupled with the fiscal guidance that the secretary's put out, coupled with
the defense planning guidance that he has published, in fact lays foundation
for the review now of the programs that are in hand and those that are being
proposed, and gives us a basis now for judging which, if any of them, we're
going to continue, and in what way.
QUIGLEY: Just one or two more, please, ladies and gentlemen.
QUESTION: How much different would this report be if it had come out before
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Substantially, not much. I -- no, I have to admit that
you will find within it references to the event on the 11th of September, but
my colleague over here had spent the previous weekend literally writing it --
you know, pulling all the thoughts together, getting it smoothed down. So it
was -- the draft was finished. In fact, he walked up the steps the following
morning, and I said, "I want you to go back, and I want you to get this
finished, because it's important, and we need to be -- to get it out."
So it was substantially completed.
QUESTION: Can you describe the follow-on study that will focus on fighting terrorism?
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I'd have to get back to you. I mean, there's a long
list of them that are in here, and I -- now is not the time for me to go through
-- I'd be happy to do it at some point, if you'll take the point, Craig, and
we'll get back to you. It's an interesting question
QUESTION: You say in here that you're restoring --
QUIGLEY: Hang on. Hang on.
QUESTION: There's hardly any emphasis on NMD, or missile defense. What's the
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Ah. For the same reason over here. Missile defense
as a particular capability is -- gets as much emphasis as does intelligence
capabilities, as the ability to project power. All right. It is an element of
the entire capability of the United States. It is not the only capability that
we are attempting to transform, and it is essential to the homeland defense
and the protection of the base of operations.
I can take one more.
QUESTION: The report makes mention of looking into additional overseas bases,
different deployments overseas.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: Yeah.
QUESTION: Is it fair to say that this report calls for a greater military presence
forward-deployed than we have today?
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL: No, I wouldn't walk away with it being greater. I think
the thrust of the report -- and if you look in the section on posture -- is
that the posture may need to be adjusted. That is to say, the places where additional
attention may be needed are called out. The need to maintain our posture in
Europe, for example, is affirmed, because of the importance of Europe. But within
the broad deployment of our forces, we may need to kind of adjust here and there
to account for circumstances, as you are in fact seeing at the moment.
I'm sorry. I really do have to run. I thank you for your time. And Craig, it's