The soon-to-be-released QDR took place under circumstances unlike any of its predecessors. This context and the imperative to succeed in today's ground-centric conflicts made many nervous about the future of the U.S. Navy. In fact, however, the very circumstances that concern Navy supporters highlight key contributions the naval services will make in the emerging strategic environment.
Since the first one in 1997, the QDR has been the gold standard of defense strategic planning. Each has explicitly or implicitly signaled what the Department of Defense (DOD) and its contemporary presidential administration want to achieve in defense and national security. Each identified in varying levels of detail an intended new direction, such as reaping the peace dividend from the end of the Cold War in the 1997 QDR.
Each review has also highlighted key aspects of changing defense strategy, as the 2006 report did with its emphasis on rebalancing toward irregular, catastrophic, and disruptive forms of warfare. And each was also criticized for being too budget-driven, not identifying areas where DOD intended to accept risk and not linking force-structure plans to strategy.