The Day One Project recently conducted a white-boarding session with 20 PPBE experts. The product of this seminar is the following list of broad questions about the financial barriers to the Department of Defense’s efforts to modernize the US military. These questions, and the research necessary to answer them, can serve as a roadmap for the Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Reform’s work.

  1. Do PPBE and related resource allocation processes, including the appropriations process, limit the ability of emerging technologies to cross the “valley of death” into operations and contribute to DoD’s inability to compete in time with agile competitors?
  2. Is the DoD’s current planning process able to translate future concepts of operations into the programming guidance necessary to develop future warfighting capabilities, or is it overly constrained by the construct of a weapons system program?
  3. Does the current emphasis on a predictive requirements system hinder the Department’s ability to rapidly adopt emerging technologies and undermine its use of recent procurement reforms?
  4. Is the Department’s reliance on manual data calls, PowerPoint presentations, and PDF spreadsheets hosted on different enterprise systems a hindrance to effective budgetary oversight and digital transparency?
  5. Are year-of-execution reprogramming authorities big enough or flexible enough to allow the Department to take advantage of the dynamics of the emerging technology market?
  6. Are DoD’s programmatic measures of effectiveness and performance structured to value adherence to original predictions over the potential of unforeseen outcomes? Is the DoD measuring the right things?