The final version of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review is now out and about on the Internet for your reading pleasure. The idea of the QDR is that it both serves as a statement of intent, indicating what high-level DOD policymakers tend to pursue in terms of budget objectives and resource-allocation, and also that it functions as high-level guidance for career personnel as to what their bosses want everyone to do.
Robert Farley makes the case for why these debates are worth delving into. I’m with Farley that the primary change in overall strategy seems to be that they’ve dropped the totalizing conceit of a “Long War” and not really replaced it with anything. I think that’s the right call. It’s good to have a unifying strategic theme, but it’s not at all good to be so devoted to coming up with one that you embrace an idea that doesn’t make sense. The fact of the matter is that the US Department of Defense is routinely asked to engage in a rather miscellaneous set of undertakings. My preference would be to pare back this set of undertakings to something more modest and coherent, but insofar as that’s not on the table at the moment it’s better to try to be clear-sighted rather than delusional.
In brass-tacks terms, this all seems to be very good news for people who make helicopters.