Defense Contingency Budgeting in the Post-Cold-War World

By Banks, William C.; Straussman, Jeffrey D. | Public Administration Review, March 1999 | Go to article overview

Defense Contingency Budgeting in the Post-Cold-War World


Banks, William C., Straussman, Jeffrey D., Public Administration Review


One of the major government reform initiatives in the industrialized democracies in the 1990s has been the new public management. In the United States, the initiative gained considerable attention when a report issued by a commission chaired by Vice President Al Gore endorsed the development of performance-based measures in government. As prescribed by the National Performance Review (NPR, 1993), agencies should be freed from the "red tape" of detailed specifications and "micromanagement" by Congress. Instead, agencies should be given goals and performance objectives (Thompson, 1991; Meyer and Khademian, 1996).

Among the prescriptions of the National Performance Review are recommendations to implement mechanisms that would provide greater flexibility in budgeting processes, particularly in the area of national security. Ex post contingency budget execution in defense already provides considerable flexibility for defense spenders--as we illustrate by a case study of the financing of United States involvement in Bosnia. Yet, the spending discretion that has sustained U.S peace-keeping in Bosnia is quite different from, and in some respects antithetical to, the flexibility championed by advocates of the new public management. The message that this article conveys, based on our analysis of the Bosnia experience, is that neither the current system for funding defense contingencies nor the proposals of the new public management achieve the goals of providing accountable and effective mechanisms for funding these operations. Thus we offer modest proposals for reform that may make changes akin to those of the new public management compatible with traditional forms of budget execution.

If implemented, the new mechanisms could permit the executive and legislative branches to focus on the policy questions inherent in post-cold-war military contingencies. At present the minutiae of the budget process serves as a lightning rod to prompt debate and diverts attention from a priori policy questions. The proposals outlined would reverse this situation.

The New Public Management and "Mission Budgeting" in Defense

One of most provocative applications of the new public management to defense is by Thompson and Jones (1994). Instead of micromanagement of the defense budget through line items in appropriations, restrictive appropriations, and endless reporting, advocates of the new public management urge Congress to return to its classic role as the deliberator of important policy issues related to spending, programs, and strategy. Mission budgeting is central to the reforms suggested by Thompson and Jones. As part of the broader decentralization of the Pentagon, where performance measures replace detailed prescriptions and rigid compartmentalization of budgets and spending, mission budgeting would, they concede, require significant changes in the law and practice of national security appropriations.

Under mission budgeting, when the Department of Defense appropriations are enacted by Congress, obligation authority would be given to mission centers, or joint operational commands, rather than to the military services. The accounts funded would thus be mission accounts rather than department accounts. To make this change more than merely cosmetic, however, Thompson and Jones advocate implementing the recommendations of the National Performance Review to increase the Pentagon's discretion to transfer funds between accounts and across fiscal years. Thus, congressional budgeting for defense should be, in their words, "permissive, continuous, and selective [and] focus on all of the cash flows that ensue from Congress's programmatic choices ... new obligational authority should be expressed in terms of the discounted present values of those cash flows" (Thopmson and Jones, 1994, 233). They would de-emphasize the annual budget resolution, do away with the president's budget, and focus attention on the decision to go ahead with a program or activity. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Defense Contingency Budgeting in the Post-Cold-War World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.