In 1950, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson told Congress, "We are tailoring our defenses to fit today's situation." In 1997, Secretary of Defense William Cohen tried to put the same happy spin on the cuts and trade-offs of the Quadrennial Defense Review. Four months after Johnson's testimony, Communist forces invaded South Korea, and the United States was caught woefully unprepared. Has the QDR set us up for a similar failure today?
As I read through the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), I thought of Son Stilwell's picture on the mantle in his mother's home in Hurst, Texas. Son was a Marine lieutenant when he was killed in the Korean War. He also was my cousin. He was one of more than 50,000 Americans lost in that conflict; the tragic result of the military unpreparedness of the United States when war suddenly erupted in a place no one expected.