Funding fears surround military review

Military leaders have two closely related concerns about next year's sweeping

strategy and force structure review, which, among other things, will investigate

technology's impact on military forces.

"We have two problems. They are both resource-related," said Lt. Gen. Kevin

Byrnes, the assistant vice chief of staff of the Army, at an Association

of the U.S. Army breakfast Thursday.

The congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which officially

begins next year, is a sweeping assessment of military strategy and force

structure and will result in a military plan for the next 20 years. Congress

ordered the Pentagon to address 13 issues in its defense review, including

technology's influence on the military, and to establish a defense program

for the next 20 years.

Byrnes expressed concern that:

* The upcoming QDR might be a repeat of the 1997 QDR, which was broadly

criticized for being a budget-driven exercise forcing the Pentagon to make

critical strategy, force structure and materiel decisions based on available

funding rather than the world situation.

* If the Pentagon makes decisions based on the world situation, spending

caps placed on the Pentagon budget will not be enough to adequately meet

the threat.

Byrnes made his comments the day after President Clinton signed the $288

billion spending bill for 2001. The budget includes the first increase in

years, but Byrnes pointed out that the Pentagon's actual purchasing power

continues to decline, and military spending as part of the gross national

product continues to shrink.

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