Planning America's Security

Lessons from the National Defense Panel

by John Tedstrom, John G. McGinn

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This report identifies key lessons from the first National Defense Panel (NDP) and makes recommendations to the Congress, the administration, and future NDP management teams about how the process can be made more effective. The NDP was established by the 1996 Military Force Structure Review Act as an independent effort to provide guidance to the Secretary of Defense and the Congress on long-term defense strategies and force structure requirements. This report reviews the motivations for creating the NDP, its administrative and logistical experience, the NDP's relationship to the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), and the final NDP report. Some of the principal recommendations are that (1) the NDP should maintain its focus on defense issues, but do more to integrate its recommendations into the broader national security agenda; (2) future NDPs should be better coordinated with the defense planning cycle (i.e., the next NDP, preceding the next QDR, should complete its work before the new administration comes into office in 2001); and (3) future NDPs should deal more systematically with resource constraints than the first NDP.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1

    Introduction

  • Chapter 2

    Birth of the NDP: Uncertainty in the Post-Cold War Era

  • Chapter 3

    The NDP Process: Tackling an Ambitious Mandate

  • Chapter 4

    The NDP Message: from Alternative Force Structures to Transformation

  • Chapter 5

    Implications

  • Chapter 6

    Conclusions

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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