PPBE Reform Commission

Proposed Legislative Language in Support of Implementation of the Final Report Recommendations

Recommendation #8A: Increase BTR Thresholds Based Upon the Nominal Growth of the Appropriation

Description and Justification:  The Commission recommends adjusting existing thresholds for the so-called below-threshold reprogrammings (BTRs) to levels more commensurate with historic authority and current needs.  BTR reprogrammings can move funds faster than prior-approval reprogrammings because they are typically processed more quickly within DoD and do not require advance approval from Congress. Permitting greater use of BTR reprogrammings will relieve pressure on the congressional reprogramming process and enable the Department to respond to emerging threats and opportunities on a timelier basis.  Despite these advantages, and notwithstanding the helpful but modest increases in the availability of BTR reprogrammings permitted in the FY 2024 defense appropriations legislation, Congress has not allowed increases in BTR reprogramming authority consistent with budget growth. The Commission recommends calculating new BTR thresholds by adjusting 2003 BTR thresholds for each appropriation by the ratio between total spending for the appropriation in FY 2003 and total spending for the appropriation in FY 2023.  This calculation would result in adjusted BTR thresholds of $25 million for RDT&E, $40 million for Procurement, $30 million for O&M, and $15 million for MILPERS.  Because the new BTR thresholds would be consistent with historic norms, the increased execution flexibility would not come at the expense of congressional oversight and control.  These increases will give the Department greater ability to adjust spending in light of changing circumstances, threats, and emerging needs without changing the overall reprogramming framework or undermining existing congressional oversight procedures and requirements.  See pages 79-80 (including Figure 20) of the Final Report for more information.

REPROGRAMMING GUIDANCE The Secretary of Defense is directed to continue to follow the reprogramming guidance for acquisition accounts as specified in the report accompanying the House version of the Department of Defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 (House Report 110-279). The dollar threshold for reprogramming funds shall be $15,000,000 for military personnel; $30,000,000 for operation and maintenance; $40,000,000 for procurement; and $25,000,000 for research, development, test, and evaluation.