Defense Procurement: Full Funding Policy- Background, Issues, and Options for Congress [Updated July 26, 2006] [open pdf - 257KB]
"The full funding policy is a federal budgeting rule imposed on the Department of Defense (DOD) by Congress in the 1950s that requires the entire procurement cost of a weapon or piece of military equipment to be funded in the year in which the item is procured. Although technical in nature, the policy relates to Congress's power of the purse and its responsibility for conducting oversight of DOD programs. Support for the policy has been periodically reaffirmed over the years by Congress, the Government Accountability Office, and DOD. In recent years some DOD weapons- specifically, certain Navy ships- have been procured with funding profiles that do not conform to the policy as it traditionally has been applied to DOD weapon procurement programs. DOD, in recent budget submissions, has proposed procuring ships and aircraft using funding approaches that do not conform to the policy as traditionally applied. DOD's proposals would establish new precedents for procuring other DOD weapons and equipment with non-conforming funding approaches. Such precedents could further circumscribe the full funding policy. This, in turn, could limit and complicate Congress's oversight of DOD procurement programs, or require different approaches to exercise control and oversight."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31404