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A nation must think before it acts.
President Obama’s defense team is beginning the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) in an unusual set of circumstances: a financial crisis of epic proportions sure to substantially reduce the Defense baseline and war funding; a Republican holdover Secretary of Defense widely acclaimed for his management of the war in Iraq but who has left no imprint on the Department’s spending in his two years at the helm; a National Defense Strategy issued by the same Defense Secretary under the previous administration that has radical implications for the size and shape of the American military, and a Congress unlikely to adopt the administration’s recommendations for programmatic changes. These circumstances will frame the debate over strategy and force structure in the QDR.