The fiscal blank check policy and its impact on Operation Iraqi Freedom
Miller, David Elston.
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Congress passed declaration of war language for World Wars I and II that provides the military with practically unlimited resources and relaxed accountability during times of war. This "lank check policy," while not an official policy, continued through twentieth-century wars. Toward the latter half of the twentieth century, the war powers struggle between the Legislative and Executive Branches resulted in instances of Congress under-funding war efforts and increased scrutiny of in-theater spending. In spite of the under-funding, the Defense Department continued to extend the blank check policy of spending to the combatant commander. The shortfall of funding was filled by reprogramming of annual appropriations for Vietnam, contingencies of the 1990s and the current war in Iraq. This thesis builds on the studies of Walter Rundell, Leonard Taylor and William Rogerson who pioneered the critique of financial management in combat. Building on these works, the resource management environment of Multi-National Force-Iraq is critically analyzed. The negative consequences of excessive spending are discussed. These consequences are linked to the strategic mission and the support of the American people, which ultimately determines the funding levels of the Defense Department. Benefits gained in the blank check policy are compared to the negative consequences.
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