There are several steps DOD and Congress should take to enhance the integrity of the DOD budgeting process, former DOD comptroller writes in a new report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he is a senior adviser.

Among Hale’s recommendations are:

  • Congress and DOD should work together to strengthen the process of money being reprogrammed within the department. That depends on trust between the two branches, he said, and it took a hit in FY 2019 and FY 2020 reprogrammed appropriated funds – mostly military construction money – to support other administration priorities.
  • Congress should give DOD more flexibility to execute budgets, especially related to rapidly changing technology.
  • DOD should rely on cost information already available to it to help identify efficiencies.
  • Congress should allow DOD to carry over 5 to 10% of its operating funds into the next fiscal year.

“Roadblocks stand in the way of executing Pentagon budgets efficiently,” Hale writes. “Most notably, cost reduction is not fundamental to DOD’s mission. Commanders know that they will be judged primarily on how well the planes fly or the tanks run, and not so much on whether they reorganize the motor pool to achieve savings.”

DOD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton