Section I


As the fourth comprehensive review of our military since the end of the Cold War, the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) builds on our experience with the policy and forces of the 1991 Base Force Review, the 1993 Bottom-Up Review (BUR), and the 1995 Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces (CORM). As a result of those reviews, we made significant adjustments in our forces, procedures, and organizations. We have also accumulated a wealth of experience in a new and constantly changing security environment. That experience tells us that we have the finest military force in our nation's history, with unsurpassed professionalism and capability. Nevertheless, this is a propitious time to reexamine our assumptions, programs, and operations. Indeed, the rapid rate of change in the world since the end of the Cold War underscores the importance of undertaking such a reexamination on a regular basis.

The QDR is required by the Military Force Structure Review Act, which was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997. The Department of Defense designed the QDR to be a fundamental and comprehensive examination of America's defense needs from 1997 to 2015: potential threats, strategy, force structure, readiness posture, military modernization programs, defense infrastructure, and other elements of the defense program. The QDR is intended to provide a blueprint for a strategy-based, balanced, and affordable defense program.


The QDR was a collaborative effort between the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Joint Staff, with extensive participation from the Military Services and the Commanders in Chief of the Combatant Commands. The Review was designed to be both bottom-up and top-down. It was bottom-up in the sense that the QDR tapped expertise and ideas from throughout the Department and solicited additional ideas and support from beyond DoD. The effort was top-down in the sense that the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff guided the process to ensure that all choices and alternatives provided the capabilities necessary to execute the strategy.

The QDR was structured into three organizational tiers or levels. At the first level, seven panels conducted reviews of strategy, force structure, readiness, modernization, infrastructure, human resources, and information operations and intelligence. At the second level, an Integration Group organized the panel results into a coherent set of "integrated options" designed to be consistent with the defense strategy. At the third level, a Senior Steering Group, co-chaired by the Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, oversaw the entire process and made recommendations to the Secretary of Defense, who, in turn, reviewed the recommendations in consultation with the Chairman and other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

From the beginning of the QDR, the Senior Steering Group established a road map for the effort that required close adherence to the following milestones:

Drawing on the basic principles of the Review, work in each phase built directly upon the work of the preceding phase, leading ultimately to the decisions that are contained in this report. Work in the second and third phases began simultaneously and was initially conducted largely in parallel because of the enormity of the task and the tight schedule. The second and third phases were then reconciled in the last two phases in order to produce an integrated result.

The National Defense Panel received regular briefings on the work of the panels as well as on the integration options and decisions. The National Security Council staff and other Administration agencies also participated at various points in the Review. As the decision options began to take shape, the Department began consultation with Congress. The President reviewed and then approved the defense strategy and the final decisions regarding program directions.


The Department will continue to consult with Congress on the QDR and implement the results through the submission of any needed changes in the Fiscal Year (FY) 1998 budget and the development of a detailed budget for FY 1999 and revised program plans through FY 2003. During that process, the Department will also work closely with the National Defense Panel and study any additional options the Panel identifies. In addition, the Department will conduct a series of follow-up studies in the months to come, many of which are identified in this report.


The QDR will serve as the overall strategic planning document of the Department. The QDR is also intended to fulfill the strategic planning requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) (P.L. 103-62). The Department's plan for GPRA implementation includes extracting key corporate goals from the QDR and integrating GPRA into the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System (PPBS). DoD organizations at all levels will review their strategic plans and mission objectives to ensure that they link to the goals and objectives of the QDR. Future GPRA performance reports will indicate progress made towards meeting the key QDR corporate level goals.

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