Pentagon’s military strategy taking shape

The Pentagon expects an outline of the Bush's administration's military strategy to be completed by the end of July, senior Defense Department officials said Thursday. The strategy will be outlined in the Defense Department's ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review, an exhaustive internal study completed every four years that covers everything from threats the U.S. will face in future wars to whether military forces and bases need to be downsized. The new strategy will guide future Defense budgets, officials said. "The fundamental objective is to get a strategically driven budget rather than a budget-driven strategy," a senior Defense official said at a Pentagon press briefing. The Quadrennial Defense Review was originally due to Congress by October. But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently accelerated that schedule so the results of the review can be used to develop the Defense Department's fiscal 2003 budget. Development of the 2003 budget will get under way this summer. The 2003 Defense budget will be the Bush administration's first attempt to retool the military for the 21st century and will likely include billions of dollars in new spending for missile defense and new weapons as well as a call for more base closures. The proposed 2002 budget is only expected to seek modest increases in Defense spending to improve the quality of life for military service members. Rumsfeld has spent the past few weeks meeting with service chiefs and civilian Defense secretaries to develop a framework and focus for the Quadrennial Defense Review. The review will take a close look at information operations and the need for information superiority by U.S. forces, a Defense official said. The key element of the Quadrennial Defense Review will be outlining the national military strategy. Current strategy calls for U.S. forces to be capable of fighting two major theater wars, presumably in North Korea and the Persian Gulf. A senior Defense official said the possibility of scrapping that strategy is "on the table," but also declined to rule out keeping it in place. The emphasis on the Quadrennial Defense Review is a marked shift from Rumsfeld's earlier efforts to create his own internal reviews to study and implement military reforms. Those studies ran into sharp opposition from members of Congress and senior leaders of the military services, who felt they had been shut out of Pentagon deliberations. A senior Defense official emphasized that Rumsfeld is intent on getting uniformed input into the Quadrennial Defense Review.
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