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Will the Next QDR Repeat the Mistakes of the Past?

July 8, 2002

The first Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) took place in 1997. The second is scheduled for the end of September 2001. When Congress mandated the QDR process, it was envisioned as a comprehensive examination of America’s defense needs out to 2015. The Pentagon was supposed to tell Congress directly what was needed to protect the nation’s interests, and how much it would cost. The first QDR was hampered in this regard by a politically imposed assumption by an incumbent administration that defense spending would be limited to a $250 billion annual budget (in real terms). Thus the conclusions were driven by fiscal rather than strategic factors.