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Pillars of the Modern Defense Budgeting System

By Matt MacGregor , Peter Modigliani , Greg Grant

We outline four key challenges with the current defense budgeting system and propose six pillars to underpin a modern system. Major reforms are needed to ensure the Department of Defense maintains a viable and capable military to meet national strategies.

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The FY22 National Defense Authorization Act authorized DoD to establish a Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Commission to make recommendations on improving the fielding of “operational capabilities necessary to outpace near-peer competitors…and support an integrated budget that is aligned with strategic defense objectives.” This paper frames the challenges inherent in the current system and presents a framework for transformation to a PPBE system that is strategic, collaborative, agile, transparent, and accountable to outcomes.

This is the first in a three-part series on modernizing the defense budget, which is designed to contribute to the strategic reforms being considered by the PPBE Commission. The second and third papers will outline targeted reforms to address key challenges and a vision for the 21st Century defense budgeting system.