US DoD needs better budget communication with Congress, commission says
Janes Article by Marc Selinger, 16 August 2023
The US Department of Defense (DoD) should enhance its communication with Congress to make it easier for lawmakers to quickly approve funding changes in response to programme successes or failures, technological advances, or geopolitical events, according to a new interim report by a congressionally mandated panel.
The Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Reform said the DoD’s information flow to Congress tends to dry up after the department sends its annual budget request to Capitol Hill, leaving lawmakers with an incomplete or outdated picture of programmes. To fix this problem, the commission recommends the DoD provide a mid-year budget update briefing to Congress and set up classified and unclassified “enclaves”, in which the DoD could regularly share current information with lawmakers electronically.
“We need a cadence of communications that’s much more data-driven between the DoD and the Hill,” Ellen Lord, commission vice-chair and former US undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment, told the Defense Writers Group in Washington, DC, on 15 August. Such information sharing would “enable flexibility in the entire cycle”.
Such flexibility could especially be useful to small tech companies that want to do business with the DoD but cannot wait years for funding, said Lord.
The commission outlined a total of 23 recommendations in its 199-page interim report. Thirteen recommendations such as the mid-year budget briefing and the information-sharing enclaves are “actions that can be implemented now”. The other 10 such as giving the DoD more latitude to move funding between programmes or carry over funding from one year to the next are “potential recommendations requiring stakeholder feedback”. The commission plans to release its final report in March 2024.