12 Feb Miami Herald commentary - Pentagon Plan Deemed Inadequate by Joe Galloway.

...The Defense Department thinkers have had four years to write the document that is to guide and inform our military strategy, tactics, arms acquisition and manpower for the next 20 years, the Quadrennial Defense Review mandated by Congress.

For months the Rumsfeld lieutenants have floated trial balloons warning that the most capital-intensive branches of service, the Air Force and Navy with their costly aircraft and ships, were going to feel the pain of severe cutbacks or cancellations of cherished next generation goodies.

The savings would be invested in lower tech but higher utility things like the soldiers and Marines who are still required to win wars the old-fashioned way, by killing people, and controlling contested territory by the simple act of standing on it, rifle in hand.

After all the talking and posturing and debating, what did they choose to do? The short answer: Nothing much different. No hard choices made. Both the old and the new continue rolling along, and the problem is shoved along for another administration, in another QDR, to solve and pay for...

In the budget the Pentagon continues to fund three very costly short-range jet fighters -- The F/A-22 Raptor, the F/A-18 Super Hornet and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter -- as well as the Navy's Virginia class nuclear attack submarine at $2.4 billion each and the CVN-21 next generation aircraft carrier and the DD(X) destroyer. The Army's expensive and futuristic Advanced Combat Systems program based on systems that haven't been invented yet is still rolling along...

The usefulness of such aircraft and ships in the wars against terrorism in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, however, is just about zero, since our control of air and sea are unchallenged there and elsewhere in the foreseeable future.

At a time when many analysts say that our problems in Iraq lead back to a failure to send enough soldiers and Marines to secure the place after the invasion, there's no money in the 2007 budget to increase Army and Marine manpower -- and the QDR actually calls for shrinking the Army from today's inadequate 491,000 to no more than 482,400 over the next five years...

One military analyst, Col. (ret.) Ken Allard, former dean of students at the National War College, put it this way:

"As Winston Churchill was unkind enough to point out, it is occasionally necessary in war to suspend one's preferences and actually consider the enemy. The QDR has not done that for one simple reason. It says little or nothing about the need for soldiers. And how they can best be provided, trained, protected and sustained to meet an enemy who thinks in generational rather than technological timelines -- which is why that enemy thinks he can win and why he may be right.''