Cover: Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution in Comparative Organizations

Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution in Comparative Organizations

Volume 5, Additional Case Studies of Selected Allied and Partner Nations

Published May 8, 2024

by Stephanie Young, Megan McKernan, Andrew Dowse, Nicolas Jouan, Theodora Ogden, Austin Wyatt, Mattias Eken, Linda Slapakova, Naoko Aoki, Clara Le Gargasson, et al.


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Research Questions

  1. What are the key features of resource planning in each comparative case?
  2. What are the perceived strengths and challenges of the comparative processes?
  3. What are the potential lessons from each case regarding DoD's PPBE System?

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) process is a key enabler for DoD to fulfill its mission. But in light of a dynamic threat environment, increasingly capable adversaries, and rapid technological changes, there has been increasing concern that DoD's resource planning processes are too slow and inflexible to meet warfighter needs. As a result, Congress mandated the formation of a legislative commission to (1) examine the effectiveness of the PPBE process and adjacent DoD practices, particularly with respect to defense modernization; (2) consider potential alternatives to these processes and practices to maximize DoD's ability to respond in a timely manner to current and future threats; and (3) make legislative and policy recommendations to improve such processes and practices for the purposes of fielding the operational capabilities necessary to outpace near-peer competitors, providing data and analytical insight, and supporting an integrated budget that is aligned with strategic defense objectives.

The Commission on PPBE Reform asked RAND to provide an independent analysis of PPBE-like functions in selected other countries and other federal agencies. In this report — Volume 5 in a seven-volume set of case studies — RAND researchers analyze the defense budgeting processes of five additional allied and partner nations: France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and Sweden. Relative to the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada (considered in Volume 2), the cases in this volume are more varied and have some notable differences from the United States.

Key Findings

  • France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and Sweden are highly capable U.S. partners that share some strategic concerns and priorities.
  • Foreign military sales are an important mechanism for advancing shared goals, but this support is balanced by initiatives to maintain domestic industrial capacity.
  • Several countries recently signaled an intent to increase their overall defense spending, but there will be countervailing pressures on top-line budgets.
  • Although the countries' political systems are diverse, there is limited friction between the executive and legislative branches in their budgeting processes.
  • The countries place greater emphasis on budget predictability and stability than on agility.
  • Despite the common emphasis on stability, each system provides some budget flexibility to address unanticipated changes.
  • There are varied approaches to oversight for ensuring transparency, efficiency, and accountability but fewer mechanisms for evaluating effectiveness.
  • There are some similarities between these countries and the United States in terms of general approaches to defense resource management.
  • Several features that have been the focus of discussions about the need to reform the DoD PPBE System did not figure prominently in these case studies, such as the U.S. focus on potential points of friction between the executive and legislative branches in budget execution and the U.S. focus on processes that foster innovation, agility, and responsiveness to a changing threat environment.

This research was sponsored by the Commission on Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Reform and conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Program of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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