DOD revamps budget process

The Defense Department announced changes today that will streamline its planning, programming and budgeting system.

The changes include moving from an annual program objective memorandum and budget estimate to a two-year cycle better suited for keeping up with real-world changes.

Beginning with an abbreviated review and amendment cycle for fiscal 2005, the revamped Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution process is expected to improve internal DOD budget efforts, increase effectiveness and add additional emphasis to execution, according to DOD Comptroller Dov Zakheim.

The department will formulate two-year budgets and use the off year to focus on fiscal execution and program performance, Zakheim said. The two-year cycle will guide numerous DOD decision processes, including:

* Strategy development.

* Identification of needs for military capabilities.

* Program planning.

* Resource estimation and allocation.

* Acquisition.

The fiscal 2005 execution reviews will mark the first time DOD can make assessments concerning current and previous resource allocations and ascertain whether planned performance goals have been met. Performance metrics, including the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), will be the analytical foundation for determining if an appropriate allocation of resources exists in current budgets.

PART is an Office of Management and Budget tool that measures programs' effectiveness and assigns each a grade. The tool tries to address the agencywide performance issues raised by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, which ties funds to an agency's performance results.

If performance goals of an existing program are not being met, recommendations may be made to replace that program or make appropriate funding adjustments to correct resource imbalances, Zakheim said.

DOD will now use budget change proposals instead of a budget estimate submission during the off year. The proposals will accommodate changes from fact-of-life issues and congressional actions.

Zakheim said no legislative changes are required and that the Congress will see the same budget justification as it has in the past.

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