Analysis of Improvisational Budgeting from Calendar Year 1990 to 1999   [open pdf - 1MB]

Improvisational budgeting represents an interruption to the normal budgeting process, resulting in costly delays to the defense Planning Programming and Budgeting Process (PPBS). A normal congressional budget process was characterized by Congress' ability to follow established procedures, complete their budget in a timely manner and fulfill their expected roles for applying incremental adjustments to the budget. The latent pro-spending bias and intrinsic political behavior within the budgetary process, in conjunction with a U.S. economy bitten by stagflation in the 1970's, was a recipe for the creation of enormous debt and political breakdowns in the 1980's. The result of these factors was a breakdown of the normal budgeting process, subsequently circumvented by improvisational budgeting. Ramifications include continuing resolution appropriations, appropriations passed before authorizations, delayed bills or even government shutdowns. These ramifications impact DoD's ability to issue accurate Budget Estimate Submissions during budget formulation, increasing the level of uncertainty in the PPBS process. This can negatively impact defense programs requiring accurate forecasting to remain executable. It is important to further explore the decade of the 1990's to ascertain whether harmony could be restored in a budgetary process defined by a surplus rather than the deficit spending-driven improvisational budgeting of the 1980's.

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