From Aviation Week and Space Technology 2005 November

GATHERING STORMS

The Pentagon is primed for the perfect storm as operational, budgetary, manpower and transformation crises converge.

One of the early indicators of this pending collision is the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which critics say has shifted from a blueprint for military transition to management of minor changes to future programs.

The Office of Management and Budget has let it be known it will resist additional supplemental funding to pay for the war in Iraq (although it may be softening its stance). Military leaders are telling Congress they can't continue to support current troop levels in Iraq via the regular defense budget. QDR has changed from a template for transformation into a lightweight budget drill that will be overwhelmed by congressionally mandated changes. To add more delay and confusion, those congressional edicts will be stalled by a continuing resolution that is expected to shift program decisions well into next year.

"The QDR group of 12 [most influential military and civilian members] has had a lot of discussions over the last three weeks," says a senior Pentagon civilian. "Clearly they are planning significant program changes."

Within that group, the "remnants [of transformation planning] are still swirling around," agrees a long-serving House Armed Services Committee staffer. "But it's not a real QDR any more.

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