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As a result of the assessment in 1981, Deputy Secretary of Defense Carlucci issued a memorandum on March 27, 1981 that made numerous changes in the PPB system and presented the management philosophy of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense. The major provisions of this memorandum were: o modifying the existing PPBS to reflect a shift to greater em
phasis on long-range strategic planning; o greater decentralization of authority to the Services; o closer attention to cost savings and efficiencies; o elimination of most of the paperwork required by the Zero
Based Budget (ZBB) system; o a restructuring of DoD's top management board, the Defense
Resources Board (DRB); o an increase in the responsibilities and roles of the Service Sec
retaries; o a change of roles and relationships between the various OSD
staff agencies and the Services; o a new process for management review by the Secretary of De
fense of progress toward objectives in major programs; o a general streamlining of the entire PPBS. (Part 9, page 388) The changes directed by Secretary Carlucci's memorandum were designed to correct the many deficiencies identified in PPBS. Many of the changes have been effective in correcting or lessening the problems identified in 1981. However, certain problems, especially those identified in the preceding paragraph, continue to exist.
1. INEFFECTIVE STRATEGIC PLANNING
The Department of Defense conducts planning of two distinct types: (1) resource allocation planning and (2) contingency (or capabilities) planning. Resource allocation planning is conducted primarily by OSD and OJCS with appropriate inputs and review by the Military Departments and operational commanders. These plans are developed to serve as resource allocation tools rather than strategies for military action. Contingency planning is conducted by OJCS and the operational commanders and provides plans for the actual employment of forces to accomplish specific military missions.
In this chapter, only planning in the resource allocation process will be discussed. As the term “long-range planning” is often used to cover both the planning and programming phases of PPBS, it is too broad to describe only the planning phase. To address only the planning phase of PPBS and to distinguish it from other planning conducted in DoD, it will be termed "strategic planning.” In this context, strategic planning encompasses selection of objectives, identification of constraints (including fiscal), formulation of a strategy to secure these objectives, and decisions on supporting policies and broad resource allocations.
The problem of ineffective strategic planning in DoD has existed for an extended period of time. The 1979 Defense Resource Management Study, citing the lack of planning as a major PPBS problem, states: “There is broad agreement that the first 'P' in PPBS is silent." (page 6) The Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report, Toward a More Effective Defense, adds to this criticism: ..."the planning that takes place in the Department of Defense is not linked adequately to subsequent programming and budgeting decisions.” (page 38) In his draft paper, "Strategymaking in DoD", Ambassador Robert W. Komer, former Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), expands on these themes:
As a former practitioner, my own evaluation of our non-nuclear strategymaking is harsh. There is all too little systematic strategymaking in DoD, except in the strategic nuclear arena. Instead the reality is best characterized as a piecemeal, irregular, highly informal process, largely driven by cumulative program decisions influenced more by budget constraints and consequent inter-service competition than by notions of U.S. strategic priorities. Little long term policy or strategic planning takes place, except for adapting to new technology. There is little consideration of strategic alternatives. (page 23)
...All this is not to say that policy and strategic thinking does not recurrently influence programs and resource allocations, only that it does so in a spasmodic and usually unstructured
way. (page 26) In discussing the sources of ineffective strategic planning, this subsection will focus on seven generic causes. An eighth possible cause is listed, but a determination as to its existence was not possible. Beyond these generic causes, two specific shortcomings of the strategic planning process were identified; one of these was considered a cause of ineffective strategic planning while the other was viewed as a product. In any case, given their seriousness, they are treated as separate problem areas in the two subsequent subsections.
a. Dominance of Programming and Budgeting
First, within the current PPBS, programming and budgeting tend to dictate strategic planning rather than the reverse. There are several factors that have contributed to this occurrence. First of all, the programming and budgeting cycles are too long and essentially squeeze out a structured strategic planning effort. Second, resource managers —both from OSD and the Services -dominate the process through which objectives, strategy, and policies are translated into resource allocations.
b. Lack of Management Discipline in OSD
A second major cause of ineffective strategic planning is the inability of OSD to discipline itself to give strategic planning proper attention. OSD places too much attention on resource questions and on immediate problems. Much of this is in response to outside demands, especially from the Congress, which divert attention from strategic planning. The lack of discipline is a key issue because ineffective strategic planning is more of a management problem than an organizational problem; high-level defense officials have apparently failed to recognize the importance of planning and have not given it sufficient priority on the work agenda of OSD. In some instances, this has resulted as key OSD positions have been filled by individuals who are not well versed in national security planning. c. Inability of the JCS System to Provide Useful Strategic Planning Advice and to Formulate Military Strategy
The PPB system provides an important role for the JCS system in strategic planning. The two initial planning documents are prepared by the JCS system: the Joint Long-Range Strategic Appraisal (JLRSA) and the Joint Strategic Planning Document (JSPD). Despite this prominent role, the JCS system has failed to play a useful role in strategic planning. The Defense Resource Management Study comments on this deficiency:
The implication to the uninitiated has been that these documents formed an important foundation for the process. In fact, the joint documentation was generally considered irrelevant to the process. The weaknesses of joint staffing cited in the Steadman Report (Report to the Secretary of Defense on the National Military Command Structure by Richard C. Steadman, July 1978] play a role in explaining the reason for this low regard of the product, as do timing of the presentation, the utter impossibility of the assumed tasks (comprehensive annual assessments of national military strategy and force structure), and, most seriously, an inability to grapple with alternatives linked
to resources. (emphasis added) (page 21) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., USN (Retired) supports the criticism of ineffective strategic planning by the JCS system. In On Watch, he comments on the Joint Strategic Objectives Plan (JSOP), as the JSPD was previously titled:
...I found this particular document to be almost as valueless to read as it was fatiguing to write. Some of its prescriptions always were in the process of being falsified by events. Others were so tortured a synthesis of mutually contradictory posi
tions that the guidance they gave was minimal. (page 334) d. Lack of Consensus
A fourth cause is that it is difficult to achieve a consensus on a coherent military strategy and related policies. This results from the following factors: o strategic planning in DoD is an enormously difficult and com
plex task given the numerous and wide range of threats and
fiscally constrained resources; o absence of organizations with mission orientations participat
ing in the strategic planning process; o in protection of their narrow interests, many organizations
prefer ambiguity in terms of U.S. objectives and mission prior
ities; and o each Service has its own global military strategy which per
mits it to justify its programs and is primarily driven by re
source competition. The failure to develop a coherent military strategy with mission priorities has led to a perception of an objectives-force mismatch, often, but incorrectly, referred to as a "strategy-force mismatch". (Strategy attempts to effectively employ given forces to achieve stated objectives. If there is any mismatch, it must be that the objectives are too great to be achieved by available forces.)
e. Inadequate Strategic Planning Machinery
A fifth cause is that current strategic planning machinery is inadequate. As Ambassador Komer has noted, strategic planning is currently a piecemeal, irregular, and highly informal process. In particular, the Defense Resources Board, a large and unwieldy committee (20 formal members and 5 de facto members) oriented toward resources, appears to be the only operative forum for strategic planning. (Despite its name, the Armed Forces Policy Council is not involved in policymaking or strategic planning.) Given the complexity of strategic planning issues, the large number of officials that should be involved, and the substantial demands on their time (which tends to shortchange strategic planning), it appears that a more structured and formal strategic planning process would be beneficial.
f. Weak Strategic Planning Tradition
A sixth major cause is the weak tradition of strategic planning in DoD. U.S. strategic thought is really a product of World War II and the post-war world. For most of American history, the U.S. military did not need to formulate grand strategy. Since World War II, much work has been done on nuclear strategy and policy, but conventional strategy and policy have suffered from inadequate attention.
The weak tradition of strategic planning is also evidenced by the failure of the U.S. military education system to focus systematically on it, for example through strategic war games or the study of military history. As Liddell Hart put it, “in all our military training...we invert the true order of thought -considering techniques first, tactics second, and strategy last” (Thoughts on War, page 129). It should be noted, however, that the Services have recently placed increased emphasis on war games, often involving unified and other operational commanders.
g. Inadequate Policy and Planning Guidance
A seventh major cause of ineffective strategic planning is inadequate policy and planning guidance. Effective guidance for strategic planning requires a clear statement of policy and objectives which can be used for strategy formulation and program and budget development. The guidance issued by OSD has been inadequate for these purposes.
The Steadman Report noted the deficiencies in policy and planning guidance:
...Most military officers believe that more clear and definitive national security policy guidance is needed for strategic planning. If adequate policy guidance is not given to military planners, they must prepare their own, as a necessary starting point. Some argue that previous national security policy guidance was too general to be useful, and it certainly is true that vague or all-encompassing statements of defense policy objectives are of little help in detailed force planning. On the other hand, programs constructed without clear policy directives can only be prepared on the basis of policy goals determined by the programmer himself, but often not made explicit for senior decisionmakers to accept or reject. (pages 42 and 43)
General David C. Jones, USAF (Retired) presented similar criticism in testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services:
Current guidance is so demanding that developing truly coherent programs to carry it out is impossible even under the most optimistic budget assumptions....the defense guidance does little to set meaningful priorities or mandate a search for new directions to maintain our security. This is not a problem unique to this Administration. (SASC Hearing, December 16,
1982, pages 19 and 20) h. Insufficient Guidance from the National Security Council Some observers have expressed the view that another cause of ineffective DoD strategic planning is insufficient guidance from the National Security Council on grand strategy, U.S. strategic interests, and U.S. worldwide commitments and their priorities. It was not possible, within the scope of this effort, to determine the validity of this view. 2. INSUFFICEINT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STRATEGIC PLANNING AND
FISCAL CONSTRAINTS While the review of the PPBS identified weaknesses across the entire range of strategic planning tasks, one major shortcoming was frequently noted: an insufficient relationship between strategic planning and fiscal constraints. It is central to the PPB system that programs and budgets should flow from requirements identified in the strategic planning process which, itself, results from broader national security and foreign policy planning. At present, however, DoD strategic planning resources are underutilized because they are not effectively applied to solving the major policy, strategy, and program issues that result from fiscal constraints. The reconciliation of policy guidance and strategy formulation with fiscal constraints must remain a central objective of the PPB system.
The symptoms of an insufficient relationship between strategic planning and fiscal constraints include: (1) limited utility of strategic planning documents in the programming and budgeting phases; (2) unattainable defense guidance; and (3) the growing distances between the recommended planning force, the POM force, and those inherent capabilities remaining after congressional action on the budget. Given the inability to effectively apply fiscal constraints to joint military planning, much of the strategic planning effort has been perceived as not being useful to PPBS participants. The CSIS report, Toward a More Effective Defense, comments on this situation and the deficiencies that result:
...joint military planning is not constrained by realistic projections of future defense budgets. Consequently, the primary JCS planning documents are fiscally unrealistic and therefore largely ignored in the programming and budgeting process. Instead, national military force planning results from loosely coordinated, parallel dialogues between OSD and each of the individual service departments. This often results in disparate plans that do not optimize the potential contribution of each military service to national strategic objectives. (page 38)