February 01, 2010

Vision Meets Reality: 2010 QDR and 2011 Defense Budget

This policy brief, authored by CNAS Research Associate Travis Sharp, provides an analysis of the FY 2011 defense budget request, places it in the context of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and historical budgetary trends, and outlines the uncertain budgetary future that looms ahead.

Sharp explains, "Closing the distance between strategic priorities listed in the QDR and realistic plans to implement them will prove a major challenge in 2010 due to persistent structural constraints on reallocating defense spending." These constraints include rising costs for military personnel, operations and maintenance, and weapons systems; continued spending on military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; and the growth in federal spending on mandatory programs such as Social Security, Sharp notes.

Sharp points out that the new FY 2011 budget consolidates gains in Secretary Gates' FY 2010 budget, but cautions that hard tradeoffs are still required to ensure commitments of the past do not impede overcoming the challenges of the future.


  • Travis Sharp

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