Planning Ahead in the Department of Defense

by David Novick



This article describes a new planning and programming process that was initiated within the Department of Defense in early 1961. The significant feature of this process is the approach that is taken to decision-making and control in the vital area of defense expenditures. Planning is considered in long-range terms of missions, forces and weapon systems, that is, resource outputs, rather than in terms of the standard appropriation categories of procurement, construction, personnel, that is, resource inputs. The strongest factor has been the diminishing relevance of military service boundaries to the major missions or programs, such as continental defense or limited warfare. Today, a major program is no longer within the exclusive province of an individual military service, but rather, in varying degrees, is within the provinces of all the services. The long development-production cycle of the typical modern weapon system has increasingly limited the value of annual budgeting as a planning tool. In addition, conventional appropriation categories in the defense budget have further limited the value of such budgeting.

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