The PPBE Process: It’s about time
First of a series exploring ways to improve DoD financial management
It’s easy to lose sight of how long the Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution (PPBE) process has been at the heart of DoD financial management. If PPBE were a United States citizen, it would soon be eligible to receive Social Security benefits!
That doesn’t mean it’s time to retire PPBE—far from it, because it’s tried and true. It works, thanks not only to the intelligence of its design but also to the dedication of the men and women in uniform, civilian DoD employees and contractors who support it. But at the same time, we at MDUBB Financial believe there are opportunities for improvement.
The ultimate goal is to minimize lost time: to make the PPBE process run smoother and faster; to reduce the time between each phase; and to eliminate time spent on activities that do not add value.
Over the next several articles in the series, we’ll explore not only the PPBE process itself, but the institutions and culture that is interwoven with it—all with an eye towards finding ways to ensure that the military as well as the taxpayer are getting the most efficient use of resources.
Where to focus your time?
In this series of articles we’ll look at three ways to improve financial management:
- Improve connections with Congress – Become an influencer with a vested interest in taxpayer and constituent benefit.
- Change the financial management culture – Shift the mindset from reactive to proactive to make better and more timely use of resources.
- Modernize the process – Look for ways to update PPBE and its execution to align it with the realities of today’s world.
Time is of the essence
No matter how much funding the DoD receives, it cannot buy more time. Optimizing the process—and enabling the people who make it work—is therefore a worthwhile endeavor, and that’s where we believe the most promising opportunities for improvement exist.
A key issue is where time and effort should be focused. There’s a balance to be struck between execution and improvement. The process functions well and there’s a strong case for “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That approach has led to very slow evolution over time and institutional acceptance of the status quo. The financial management community tends to work within and around the process as it is, taking it for granted that this is simply the way things are.
At MDUBB Financial we’re more forward-leaning. We fully acknowledge the value and efficacy of PPBE, but at the same time we believe the process can be made to work better by looking at and addressing the issues holistically. PPBE does not exist in a vacuum so improvement can be made both to the process itself and to the activities and behaviors surrounding it. By better understanding the big picture, precious time can be devoted to those efforts that will have the greatest impact.
The PPBE process can span 2–3 years from initial planning to final execution
The ultimate goal is to minimize lost time: to make the PPBE process run smoother and faster; to reduce the time between each phase; and to eliminate time spent on activities that do not add value. There’s potential to accomplish these within the context of the process itself, but there’s also fertile ground in the people and relationships that are such a vital part of financial management.
Check back in over the coming weeks as we explore these opportunities in greater detail.