Why data visibility, granularity, and accuracy are keys to better PPBE

According to Google Trends, searches for the term PPBE (The DoD’s Programming, Planning, Budget, and Execution process) nearly doubled between 2017 and 2021.  It is demonstrably clear that interest in the topic is growing.

Federal News Network has been extensively covering the topic and recently partnered with government leaders and subject matter experts at Decision Lens to discuss why reform is needed and how it will result in improved military readiness.

In the most recent article, Tom Temin interviews Kevin Connor and explores the issue of re-programming funds during execution year. Reprogramming is how the executive branch modifies congressionally appropriated funds to respond to changes during the period of execution.

Reprogramming is critical to meet the changing threat environment but is a long, laborious process which slows response time. In fact, a study from the Naval Postgraduate School measured Navy requests at an average of more than 96 days. Other studies have estimated it takes between 4 to 6 months for a request to traverse the 12 approvers before even arriving in Congress.

Data is a key delay factor in gaining approval for reprogramming requests. Each approver may request more data, newer data, or different data to decide on the request. These requests require new data pulls, additional analysis, and time to complete.

In the interview, Connor likened views into data to drilling down in an online map, in which more and more detail becomes apparent. Planners need the 30,000-foot view while Comptrollers require street-level details.

While the technology is critical to making information accessible in this way, organizing and structuring data – which lives in various pools - is typically the first challenge that organizations face as they modernize. Once organized, a platform must be implemented which can collect data elements from all these sources, normalize them and reconcile them while making them transparently available to all the decision makers.

“But having clear, unrestricted views into money of all colors can help planners better understand what they have, how to deploy it more efficiently, and provide clues to future allocations.”

According to Connor, solutions like Decision Lens allow leaders to innovate within the current system right now while they wait for the Congressionally appointed PPBE Commission to deliver its interim report in early 2023. By making the process of sharing information more agile, re-programming could become a much faster, seamless process.

Read the entire interview at Federal News Network here.

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