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Washington, D.C. --- Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and twenty-two members of the House Armed Services Committee today released the comprehensive Committee Defense Review (CDR), which was designed to serve as an independent, bipartisan report to complement the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review. The final Committee Defense Review represents more than nine months of bipartisan work to identify strategic threats to U.S. national security, gaps in force structure, ability, and materiel for countering those threats; and America’s future military needs.
“The Committee Defense Review provides a strong point of reference for the House Armed Services Committee for the future,” said Chairman Hunter. “With 55 of the 62 members of the Committee having participated in the process, all members of the committee were invited to sign the final product. Members who wished to associate with the final document signed it. ”
“With the evolving nature of the Global War on Terrorism, the House Armed Services Committee must anticipate future threats, examine gaps in our military’s ability to counter those threats and determine how to close those gaps through expansion and modification of the armed services. The Committee Defense Review has provided this opportunity, and the report reflects the hard work of all those involved,” said Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.
“Chairman Duncan Hunter should be commended for his work in crafting this report,” said Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC). “In the Global War on Terrorism, it is imperative we have an accurate assessment of our defense capabilities so we can remain effective and on the offense.”
“This is a bipartisan assessment of the American Armed Forces. As we move forward with the War on Terror, it is important that we ensure that our Armed Forces are able to adapt to the changing environment that our foreign policy needs dictate,” said Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA).
The Committee Defense Review is the result of an amendment offered by House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) during debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (H.R. 1815). The amendment proposed the creation of an independent, bipartisan National Defense Panel to review the work of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Instead of outsourcing the committee’s responsibility to a third party, committee members voted to work internally to produce an informed document to complement the QDR.
On September 14, 2005, Chairman Hunter and Ranking Member Skelton invited the entire membership of the House Armed Services Committee to an introductory meeting on the CDR scope and process. Based on that meeting and the suggestions of many members on both sides of the aisle, the committee adopted a three-tier format.
First, the committee established a Threat Panel to sort the many threats found around the world into separate categories based on type. Second, the committee created a series of Gap Panels to address the classes of threats, evaluating whether the current and future military would have the means to protect U.S. national security. Finally, the committee formed an Integration Panel to examine the work products of all Gap Panels and create a synthesized product with a holistic picture of U.S. military capabilities and future threats. Each of these panels functioned on a strictly bipartisan basis, equally halving membership and alternating control of the chairmanship from meeting to meeting.
Fifty-five of the sixty-two committee members participated in the CDR process. The Threat Panel held numerous hearings and briefings, as well as an on-site briefing at the Central Intelligence Agency. The six Gap Panels (Regional Powers, Regional Conflicts, Asymmetric and Unconventional Threats, Current and Emerging Nuclear Powers, Terrorism and Radical Islam, and Non-Traditional Missions and Catastrophic Disasters) met for more than 35 hearings and briefings. The Integration Panel met three times and edited two draft versions of the CDR report. Both the Threat Panel and Gap Panels reported out bipartisan findings and decisions. The final version is a polished product based on these reports.
While the Committee Defense Review is a bipartisan creation, it is released as a final product of those members of the committee who wished to sign.