On August 10, the Department of Defense kicked off a defense-wide zero-based review. This brief explains what the review entails, which defense-wide organizations are subject to it, and previous efforts at driving efficiencies in the “Fourth Estate.”
Expectations have been building for the FY 2020 defense budget request, a budget that acting secretary of defense Shanahan has called the “masterpiece.” As the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) works on finalizing the request, experts from the CSIS International Security Program outline what to look for in the FY 2020 defense budget.
It’s time we ditch the two percent (or any percent) of GDP metric for allied defense spending and focus on what really matters—capability, capacity, readiness, and interoperability. In the end, it’s not about how much of our allies’ economic output is directed to defense, and this metric does little to incentivize the results we want to see.
One of the often-used excuses given by Congress not to authorize a new round of Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) is that the military is currently growing and could use the excess capacity to house that growth. But executing a BRAC round while the force is scheduled to grow will allow DoD to think critically about where that growth should go, instead of simply sending it to where there is room.
The DoD audit might be worthwhile if it succeeds in finding large amounts of waste and inefficiency. But it won’t and frankly can’t. The audit produced a number of useful findings related to internal controls for information technology and financial reporting. But are these alone sufficient to justify the entire time, effort, and money the audit consumed? Probably not.
The OCO budget has been taken advantage of to skirt defense spending limits and to fund base budget activities that do not actually constitute war funding. However, moving all of OCO’s enduring costs into the base budget for the final two years of the Budget Control Act caps may not be politically expedient for passing a budget agreement for FY 2020 and FY 2021.