Pentagon Says Its Strategy Addresses Threat from Russia
Christine Wormuth, next policy chief at DOD, says the Quadrennial Defense Review addresses all threats to U.S. national security, including Russia. By Ben Watson
The Pentagon sees no need to alter its long-term strategy despite the latest developments around the Russia-Ukraine border, a senior defense official said Monday.
“Two of the strategic pillars in the updated QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review) strategy—building security globally and projecting power—are very much applicable to the situation that we see going on in Europe right now,” said Christine Wormuth, deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans and force development and President Barack Obama’s pick to become undersecretary of defense for policy.
The Defense Department is required to submit a QDR to congress every four years to assess ways to meet short- and long-term threats to national security. The 64-page document devotes just one paragraph to Russia.
“I don’t think the Ukraine situation requires a wholesale redo of the strategy,” Wormuth said of the QDR, which was released March 4. “Our strategy is sort of broadly envisioned and would allow us to do the kinds of things that what we need to do to support the government of Ukraine but also reassure our NATO allies in terms of the situation on the ground.”
Wormuth said the new QDR is a “rebalancing” for the United States military after more than a decade at war toward an emphasis on multinational exercises and partnerships. “The Ryan-Murphy act did give the department some much needed relief, particularly in 2014—much less in 2015,” she said, referring to the budget deal struck last year between Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The Pentagon’s fiscal year 2015 budget asks for $496.5 billion plus an extra $26 billion from a special fund created by the Obama administration. “Being a global leader is not cheap."
“We think about the rebalance as being focused on strengthening our alliances and partnerships,” she said. “This rebalance strategy frankly is not a ‘contain China’ strategy,” and it’s also not a contain Russia strategy.
“You want it to be flexible enough and not too over-determined,” said Wormuth. “Because you want it to be able to adapt to real-world events that you can’t necessarily predict.”