OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET/DEFENSE DEPARTMENT RELATIONS, 1970-1986
Numerous studies have shown that the Defense Department (DOD) suffers from poor performance in several key areas. These studies have not generally focused on an important source of DOD's problems: senior policy makers do not adequately integrate DOD's budgets and programs into overall national security objectives. Neither have they investigated intra-executive branch coordination involving the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) or OMB-DOD interaction. This dissertation addresses such matters. It examines OMB/DOD relations from 1970-1986, considering OMB's limited review of the defense budget and ensuing unaddressed defense problems. It also analyzes the suggestion that, with presidential backing, OMB could play a more influential role in ensuring that defense policy is coordinated with presidential objectives. This suggestion is addressed by examining the problems experienced when Congress established the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), within OMB to unify federal procurement policy. DOD was responsible for 90 percent of government procurement and resisted OFPP's establishment and its reform initiatives. Largely as a result of DOD's resistance, OFPP was unsuccessful in attempts to unify federal procurement and procurement problems remain unaddressed. The intensity of DOD's resistance to OFPP demonstrates the difficulties that can be expected to plague procurement reform efforts. This study reveals that OMB would face significant constraints in assuming a major role in the oversight of defense reforms. Constraints include internal OMB limitations and the perceived legitimacy of such a role. This dissertation also offers some limited suggestions that would enable OMB--the President's central White House-level staff for budgetary matters--to play a more effective role in defense budget review. These limited recommendations include restoring OMB's staff size to pre-Reagan levels and discontinuing the joint OMB/DOD review of the defense budget. Obviously, OMB's effectiveness in defense budget review depends on the support of the President, Defense Secretary and Congress.