THE QUADRENNIAL DEFENSE REVIEW (Senate - May 19, 1997)

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Mr. COATS. Mr. President, this evening I should like to take just a very few moments to report, along with my colleague from Connecticut, Senator Lieberman, on the recently released Quadrennial Defense Review. It was released today by the Secretary of Defense. It is the culmination of a very extensive process at the Department of Defense over the shape and makeup, the characterization and the implementation of our Armed Forces for the next several years.

We are at a unique point in our history, particularly as it relates to defense issues. We have come through a period of time when our strategy was primarily based on the threat from another superpower--the Soviet Union--a nuclear threat that required an extraordinary commitment of resources, of manpower, of effort to try to contain and to try to nullify that threat. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the fall of the Soviet Union, with the realignment that has taken place with the United States emerging as the one superpower in the world, we may have the luxury of looking at our defense structure, of making decisions and beginning a process of fashioning our defense forces for the threats of the future and not the threats of the past.

It is important to recognize, as Secretary Cohen has and as acknowledged in this Quadrennial Defense Review which was just released today, this is not a status quo situation. We have made extraordinary strides in terms of reshaping our forces from perhaps what was the peak of our defense effort in 1985, a very, very substantial decline in the number of active duty forces and the percentage of our budget and percentage of our gross national product that is devoted to defense. In the process, much of the framework that puts us in a position to make decisions in the future has at least been initiated, and the QDR, Quadrennial Defense Review, encompasses a lot of that thinking...

Missile defense, how we allocate funds to missile defense, the Secretary says we have a shortfall in research and development funds for a National Missile Defense System and we need to shift a substantial amount of money, up to $2 billion, into that particular account--where does that money come from? That is not identified.

... I look forward to working with my colleague, Senator Lieberman of Connecticut, as we explore this, as well as my other colleagues, both on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, as well as our colleagues here in the Senate.

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