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Countering WMD in the 2010 QDR
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
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Coming from the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction CSWMD, I probably will not surprise you by talking about the WMD aspects of this years Quadrennial Defense Review QDR. Specifically, I will focus on its countering WMD aspects -- that is, how the Department of Defense DoD thinks about and prepares to prevent, defend against, and mitigate the consequences of adversary use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons. Early last year, the CSWMD assessed the U.S. Governments preparedness to prevent and manage major WMD events. We found that the government, including the Defense Department, had made considerable progress over the last decade in preparing to deal with discrete or small-scale WMD incidents, but that it lacked both the quantity of specialized assets and the quality of planning and coordination mechanisms to deal effectively with large-scale WMD contingencies. We also found a need to invest more in anticipating, understanding, and countering new and emerging forms of chemical and biological threats. I have assessed this years QDR in part on how it addresses these shortcomings. I also have assessed it in relation to the 2006 QDR to identify areas of change and continuity across two different administrations. Overall, this years QDR promises significant progress by the Defense Department in addressing those aforementioned shortcomings of quantity and quality, mainly with regard to WMD elimination and consequence management. But it does not discuss how to rectify broader planning and coordination issues across the Department and with the interagency community. It does accord more emphasis than its predecessor to nontraditional chemical threat agents, while it builds on earlier efforts to improve biodefense. Altogether, I found far more continuity than change between the 2010 and 2006 QDRs.
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