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Historically the appropriations committees have generally made substantial dollar adjustments, which is seen in the number of programs that were adjusted in each of the years, though most changes consisted of financial, not programmatic, adjustments to the budget submission. Since 1970 the Appropriations Committees have roughly tripled the number of changes in individual line items and program elements. An even more dramatic change has occurred in micro-management by the Armed Services Committees. During the past 15 years, the Armed Services Committees have increasingly become involved in this pattern of line item revision, adjusting individual programs seven times more often than in 1950. Clearly, micro-management has grown dramatically and has reached crisis proportions.

The fiscal year 1985 budget request had 1,890 separate line entries in the various procurement accounts and 897 program elements in the various research and development (R&D) accounts. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees changed 440 or 23 percent of the procurement line entries and 317 or 35 percent of all R&D programs.

More than an irritation to civilian and military managers, congressional micro-management reinforces problems within DoD. First, the tremendous demands that the Congress places on the Pentagon to justify in detail every aspect of the defense budget forces the Office of the Secretary of Defense to place too much attention on resource questions. This diverts attention from strategic planning, an area of weakness in DoD. Second, in response to congressional micro-management, OSD places an equivalent emphasis on details that could be better left to the Military Departments.

Micro-management has had an equally perverse impact on the Military Departments, as noted by Theodore Crackel:

The line-item by line-item budgeting embraced by Congress in recent decades has created perverse incentives in the defense acquisition system. By budgeting for a specific weapon, rather than providing funds to accomplish the task or mission for which the weapon is intended, the Services are encouraged to shield marginal programs from scrutiny. The funded weapon amounts to their only solution; to lose it is to lose the money for the mission. As a result, the Services tend to fix and patch whatever problems emerge on that weapon rather than scrap it, try to sell an alternative approach, and obtain approval for new funds. There is little incentive for effective testing; the results can only hurt. Any problems identified by testing threaten both the project and the mission. Congress recently created an independent Office of Test and Evaluation. This, however, treats the symptoms, not the cause, and provides little incentive for better testing. (“Pentagon Management Problems: Congress Shares the Blame", Heritage Foundation Backgrounder,

January 22, 1985, page 2) The reasons for micro-management have been discussed earlier. They are worth repeating here: (a) the evolution toward standing subcommittees with specific substantive jurisdiction; (b) the development of an annual budget review process; (c) the quest to control policy through control of details; and (d) the pressure imposed on members of Congress by interest groups (and by staff), and the desire by members of Congress to be responsive to those constituent concerns. While these four factors evolved through the last 30 years, the trend has accelerated with the collapse of the foreign policy consensus which disciplined micro-management in the past. 5. INSUFFICIENT SENATE REVIEW OF PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS IN

DOD Chapters 3 and 6, which address the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Military Departments, identify several concerns related to the quality of senior civilian leadership in DoD. Dissatisfaction with the qualifications of nominees must be identified (at least in part) as a problem of congressional oversight. Presidential appointments cannot be made without the advice and consent of the Senate. Even though the candidates have been disappointing, Congress has shown little stomach for fighting the President for candidates of higher caliber. There are two fundamental causes that contribute to a relatively loose congressional attitude toward presidential nominees.

a. Different Perceptions of Job Requirements and Qualifications

There are different perceptions of the job requirements and necessary qualifications which accompany specific appointments. This is, in part, the fault of the Congress for not having established the specific responsibilities associated with each appointed position. Even so, there is an understandable tendency in the Senate to assume that the President is, in effect, asking for the qualifications that he thinks are needed in a given position.

b. Tendency to Defer to the President

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Historically the appropriations committees have generally made substantial dollar adjustments, which is seen in the number of programs that were adjusted in each of the years, though most changes consisted of financial, not programmatic, adjustments to the budget submission. Since 1970 the Appropriations Committees have roughly tripled the number of changes in individual line items and program elements. An even more dramatic change has occurred in micro-management by the Armed Services Committees. During the past 15 years, the Armed Services Committees have increasingly become involved in this pattern of line item revision, adjusting individual programs seven times more often than in 1950. Clearly, micro-management has grown dramatically and has reached crisis proportions.

The fiscal year 1985 budget request had 1,890 separate line entries in the various procurement accounts and 897 program ele ments in the various research and development (R&D) accounts. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees changed 440 or 23 percent of the procurement line entries and 317 or 35 percent of all R&D programs.

More than an irritation to civilian and military managers, congressional micro-management reinforces problems within DoD. First, the tremendous demands that the Congress places on the Pentagon to justify in detail every aspect of the defense budget forces the Office of the Secretary of Defense to place too much attention on resource questions. This diverts attention from strategic planning, an area of weakness in DoD. Second, in response to congressional micro-management, OSD places an equivalent emphasis on details that could be better left to the Military Departments.

Micro-management has had an equally perverse impact on the Military Departments, as noted by Theodore Crackel:

The line-item by line-item budgeting embraced by Congress in recent decades has created perverse incentives in the defense acquisition system. By budgeting for a specific weapon, rather than providing funds to accomplish the task or mission for which the weapon is intended, the Services are encouraged to shield marginal programs from scrutiny. The funded weapon amounts to their only solution; to lose it is to lose the money for the mission. As a result, the Services tend to fix and patch whatever problems emerge on that weapon rather than scrap it, try to sell an alternative approach, and obtain approval for new funds. There is little incentive for effective testing; the results can only hurt. Any problems identified by testing threaten both the project and the mission. Congress recently created an independent Office of Test and Evaluation. This, however, treats the symptoms, not the cause, and provides little incentive for better testing. ("Pentagon Management Problems: Congress Shares the Blame", Heritage Foundation Backgrounder,

January 22, 1985, page 2) The reasons for micro-management have been discussed earlier. They are worth repeating here: (a) the evolution toward standing subcommittees with specific substantive jurisdiction; (b) the development of an annual budget review process; (c) the quest to control policy through control of details; and (d) the pressure imposed on members of Congress by interest groups (and by staff), and the desire by members of Congress to be responsive to those constituent concerns. While these four factors evolved through the last 30 years, the trend has accelerated with the collapse of the foreign policy consensus which disciplined micro-management in the past. 5. INSUFFICIENT SENATE REVIEW OF PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS IN

DOD Chapters 3 and 6, which address the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Military Departments, identify several concerns related to the quality of senior civilian leadership in DoD. Dissatisfaction with the qualifications of nominees must be identified (at least in part) as a problem of congressional oversight. Presidential appointments cannot be made without the advice and consent of the Senate. Even though the candidates have been disappointing, Congress has shown little stomach for fighting the President for candidates of higher caliber. There are two fundamental causes that contribute to a relatively loose congressional attitude toward presidential nominees.

a. Different Perceptions of Job Requirements and Qualifications

There are different perceptions of the job requirements and necessary qualifications which accompany specific appointments. This is, in part, the fault of the Congress for not having established the specific responsibilities associated with each appointed position. Even so, there is an understandable tendency in the Senate to assume that the President is, in effect, asking for the qualifications that he thinks are needed in a given position.

b. Tendency to Defer to the President

The second cause of an insufficient review of presidential nominations is the basic philosophy within the Senate that (barring some specific cause) the President is entitled to have the pleasure of his appointment, regardless of a Senator's personal opinion on the competence of the nominee. In the 96th and 97th Congresses, the Senate approved 99.1 percent and 99.2 percent of presidential nominations, respectively. In these two Congresses, not a single presidential nominee was rejected by the Senate, and less than 0.05 percent were withdrawn.

E. DESCRIPTION OF SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEM AREAS

1. PROBLEM AREA #1-FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS WITH CONGRESS

THAT AFFECT DEFENSE OVERSIGHT The first major problem area encompasses two fundamental problems in Congress itself—the growing hegemony of the budget process in the overall legislative agenda and the blurring of jurisdictions among committees, turning the three stage legislative process into a series of redundant steps. Solutions to these problems go far beyond the issue of improving the quality of defense oversight to the heart of the continuing effectiveness of Congress in general.

Fundamentally, Congress has too much to do and insufficient time to do it. There are two basic solutions to the problem: either skip some stages in the process or do all the steps, but less frequently. The following specific solutions expand on these two basic strategies.

o Option 1A-adopt a biennial budget process

A key option widely advocated is to shift the current budget process from an annual to a biennial cycle. Currently, the Congress reviews the President's annual budget and makes changes only in the pending budget year. Under a biennial budget, the Administration would submit a proposed budget for a two-year period, and the Congress would debate, amend, and eventually approve a two-year budget, authorization, and appropriation.

Many different biennial proposals have been offered by a wide range of proponents. All proposals fit into one of the following three categories:

Spend the first session of a new Congress adopting a twoyear budget and the second session conducting oversight reviews;

Spend the first session of a new Congress conducting oversight hearings and adopt a budget during the second session based on those hearings; or

Stretch out the current annual process to cover a two-year period.

Ideally, the entire Federal budget process would be shifted to a two-year cycle. However, it would be possible to shift just the Department of Defense to a biennial budget. Indeed, Congress has already acted on this option to establish a two-year budget for DoD. The fiscal year 1986 defense authorization bill contained a provision (section 1405) directing the President to submit a two-year budget for the Department of Defense and related agencies in Jan

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