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Front Loading: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he favors having an independent panel scrutinize US strategic objectives prior to the Quadrennial Defense Review, not after it. "I think the outside review of the QDR, if you will, actually would be better before the QDR is written," Gates told reporters Monday during a Pentagon briefing. Traditionally, it's been just the opposite. For example, the Pentagon issued the 2010 QDR in February, while the Congressionally-chartered QDR independent panel just released its findings on July 29. Gates said having the outside review come after the QDR "is of limited value because the QDR's already done; it's printed; people are . . . doing all kinds of things with it." If done first, the outside review could inform the QDR process, he said. Gates also said he does think the QDR "has value," despite outside criticisms. (Gates transcript; see final question-and-answer exchange.)