Decision Grade: Readiness, Mission Impacts, and Classified Data in the Defense Budgeting Process   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the thesis abstract: "In 1961, the Department of Defense (DOD) instituted the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) system standardizing budgeting within the Services. One of the primary operating assumptions of the day was the existence of a single enemy, the Soviet Union. In late 1992, the Soviet Union dissolved and so did the single primary enemy justifying the DOD's budget. The DOD switched to a classified multiple regional scenario concept described in the now declassified 1992 Defense Planning Guidance (DPG). The DPG, then and today, comprises the main bridge from planning to programming within the DOD budget. The DPG outlines the conflicts justifying the defense budget. Overnight, public knowledge of the sole Soviet Union adversary switched to a select few cleared DOD personnel with knowledge of the new set of regional adversaries. Analysis shows the Services must communicate in nonspecific readiness terms to avoid releasing classified information, to include adversary names, in unclassified PPBE documents, in open Congressional testimony, and to uncleared personnel within the DOD. The end result provides 'what' the Services want to purchase, but not 'why' or 'for what reason' with regard to mission impacts. This research provides suggestions to improve the venerable PPBE system by investigating 'how does' and 'how should' the DOD use planning guidance and readiness to explain its budget to Congress. Through a thorough overview of the intersection among the PPBE process, classified information, and readiness reporting, this effort analyzes the impact of overclassification and redefines readiness to provide decision-grade analysis to Congress."

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