Power by the numbers : congressional line item management
Dowell, Stephen B.
Bell, Jeffrey H.
Stockton, Paul N.
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Congressional micromanagement of the defense budget is a crucial, element of the struggle between the legislative and executive branches to shape military spending. By altering presidential funding requests, Congress can impose its own preferences on the defense budget, and thus guide the restructuring of U.S. armed forces. Congressional micromanagement has drawn enormous criticism from academics and Department of Defense officials. This thesis uses documents provided by the DOD Comptroller to conduct two studies. The first is a multi year (FY 1989-1994) analysis of the procurement account, to examine how the end of the Cold War affected micromanagement. The second study examines all defense budget categories for one year (FY 1994) to compare micromanagement between accounts. This thesis argues that the percentage of budget line items for procurement altered by congressional appropriators remained nearly constant (20 to 23 percent) from FY 1989-1994. Congress subtracted from more line items that it added to, however line item subtractions were smaller on average than additions. A cross service analysis revealed no particular service or procurement programs as the prime target of Congressional micromanagement. The single year cross sectional analysis revealed that activity in DoD procurement is indicative of legislative change in operations and research accounts, but not in construction and housing.
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