Accession Number:



Defense Planning in a Time of Conflict: A Comparative Analysis of the 2001-2014 Quadrennial Defense Reviews, and Implications for the Army

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Final Report]

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The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year FY 1997 established that the U.S. Department of Defense DoD would conduct a Quadrennial Defense Review QDR and report the results by May 1997. The statutory language associated with producing that report was subsequently amended to synchronize the QDRs release with the Presidents budget submission the year following the review. Since the Bill Clinton administration published the first QDR in May 1997, four QDR reports have been published two by the George W. Bush administration in September 2001 and February 2006, and two by the Barack Obama administration in February 2010 and March 2014. The QDRs published during the Bush and Obama years were developed during a period of nearly a decade and a half of conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. The study reported here systematically compares these most-recent four QDRs by examining them in the following categories organization and process, strategy development, force planning, modernization and transformation, resources, defense reform and infrastructure, risk assessment, and reception. This report also details between-QDR changes in each dimension of defense planning, so that readers can better understand and appreciate the multiplicity of forces at work in shaping the defense strategy, program, and resources. Because the U.S. Army is a key player in the QDR development process, this report provides Army strategists and planners, among others, with a DoD-wide picture of that process while highlighting the Armys experience during and resulting from each review. It also identifies observations and offers recommendations to the Army and DoD for improving future defense reviews.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]