The Defense Budget:

A Look at Budgetary Resources, Accomplishments, and Problems

PLRD-83-62: Published: Apr 27, 1983. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) budget to determine how it is planned and how resources are expended.

GAO found that the growth of the defense budget continues at an unprecedented pace. The amount of money appropriated for fiscal year 1983 is 69 percent larger than the 1980 defense budget. GAO believes that the services are generally spending as they planned, but that the budget can be improved by building in more accountability. GAO also found that some problems identified last year remain unresolved.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD is examining establishing meaningful and measureable indicators which can be related to program objectives. According to DOD, such a project is different and the solution will be long-term.

    Matter: After a program to link increased funding and program performance has been developed, Congress should consider requiring the Office of Management and Budget to submit a special analysis of the DOD requirement using the linking indicators as a basis for the analysis.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD has examined the availability and quality of data and has given consideration to this recommendation. DOD stated that providing such data would depend on its availability or the cost of making it available, and will normally be undertaken only if Congress demands it.

    Matter: Pending implementation of a program to link increased funding and program performance expectations, Congress should query DOD on expected and measurable program outcomes during review of each budget request. Future budget requests should report on progress made toward attaining prior year expectations.

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that it would be difficult to develop the recommended method. It is pursuing research efforts aimed at documenting the linkage between resources requested and the anticipated enhancement of readiness. DOD cautions that, because of the difficulty involved in developing such a link, GAO should not anticipate the development of such a linkage in the near future.

    Matter: Congress should require DOD to develop a method of linking anticipated improvements in military capability to increased levels of funding.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD strongly disagreed with this recommendation. GAO has no indication that any action will be taken.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should advise Congress when requirements change more than 5 percent of what is being requested while a budget is being debated so that decisions can be made with full program knowledge.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that sufficient information is already provided to Congress for the use in evaluating program achievement.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that, wherever program goals and/or objectives were used to justify any part of the budget, program achievements be reported to date when budgets are submitted, when they are amended, and when supplementals are requested.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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