Shawn Brimley's article in the new hot-off-the-press Parameters hits a couple of points pretty hard. This is especially significant because word on Laura Rozen's street is that he is going to be the brains behind some of the new Pentagon bigwigs. Among his arguments:
Brimley argues for using the Quadrennial Defense Review and other strategic reviews to shape the force. My worry is that over the last 16 years, the services have become adept at using the QDR to keep the civilians busy and exhaust them, while making the big decisions elsewhere. Acquisition issues constitute a war of attrition that the services feel they can always win, because they have both more time and people than the embattled civilians of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Full disclosure: Brimley is a friend and erstwhile CNAS colleague, and a great Arcto-American. He also was one of the most helpful critical readers of my new book, The Gamble.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.