FYI: Science Policy News
FYI
/
Article

Overhaul of Defense R&D Budget Structure Proposed by Reform Panel

MAR 26, 2024
The recommendations aim to increase flexibility in funding for defense research.
Will Thomas
Spencer R. Weart Director of Research in History, Policy, and Culture
CPPBE's website banner.png

The website banner for the Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Reform.

(PPBE Commission)

The congressionally empaneled Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Reform has proposed that Congress overhaul the defense budget to reduce the stark divisions it creates between the different administrative phases of technology lifecycles: research, development, test, and evaluation; procurement; and operations and maintenance.

In its nearly 400-page final report, released this month, the commission proposes the budget instead revolve around capabilities, making it easier to shift funding for particular technologies between phases.

Within RDT&E, the report similarly recommends simplifying the current eight-tier “colors of money” account structure into four tiers: fundamental science, technology and development, system development, and capability support.

The fundamental science category would include existing basic research budgets as well as some activities currently classified as applied research. The Defense Department is studying the commission’s recommendations and many will likely require congressional authorization to implement.

The department created PPBE more than 60 years ago as a general framework for administering a vast array of activities, but the system has been widely criticized for imposing overly rigid constraints on decision-making, especially around technology development.

This news brief originally appeared in FYI’s newsletter for the week of March 25.

Related Topics
More from FYI
FYI
/
Article
FYI
/
Article
The cost of deploying the White House’s 2022 policy on open access publishing remains a concern in Congress.
FYI
/
Article
Most science agencies received budget cuts for fiscal year 2024 and are bracing for another tight budget year.
FYI
/
Article
The policy, which takes effect in 2025, was welcomed by proponents of open access publishing.
FYI
/
Article
In the face of “overwhelming” demand for CHIPS funds, the Commerce Department has put on ice its plans to subsidize semiconductor R&D facilities.

Related Organizations