Journal: New QDR–Pentagon Goes Intellectually AWOL

10 Security, Analysis, Budgets & Funding, Ethics, Military, Reform, Strategy, Threats
Chuck Spinney

The New QDR

The Pentagon Goes Intellectually AWOL


Monday, February 1, 2010, was a day that should live in budgetary infamy. The Defense Department released its Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and its accompanying Fiscal Year 2011 budget request, which is the first year of the Fiscal Year 2011-2015 five year plan (2011-2015 FYDP). These documents are available on the internet and can be downloaded in PDF format here: QDR and the FY 2011 budget.

Even by the dismal intellectual standards of Pentagon bureaucracy, the QDR and the FY 2011 budget, taken together, establish a new standard of analytical vacuity, psychological denial, and just plane meaningless drivel. I will keep this short by using just one important case to prove my allegation. Judge for yourself if it is necessary and sufficient to make the point.

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The chaos in the accounting system provides the intellectual “grease” to lubricate the engine driving narrow bureaucratic agendas that are causing the force structure meltdown. Senior decision makers can not possibly understand the trade offs they are really making when they put together a budget, assuming they wanted to, which is also in doubt.

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Phi Beta Iota: The Pentagon is only as competent as the combination of three factors:

1) accurate holistic intelligence, not only about ALL the threats but also about ALL the solutions, ALL the costs, and ALL the multinational engagement and non-governmental options.  This should include financial counterintelligence.

2) integrity across the board and top to bottom

3) a strategic analytic model that leads to a grand strategy that is both Whole of Government coherent and implementable, and joint/coalition coherent and implementable.

We agree with Chuck Spinney–the Pentagon has lost its mind, its integrity, and its ability–which it never really had but could have under the existing defense intelligence leaders–to do realiy-based decision-making.

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