In chapter 4, “The Role of Congress in Resourcing National Security,” of Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of US National Security, Jason Galui examines how the United States develops policy choices from the perspective of the National Security Council. He explains that US leaders need to present options to the president that have a higher likelihood of achieving desired outcomes—”simply stated, strategy and budget resourcing must align.” Galui writes that without resources to execute it, strategy becomes little more than “an interesting academic exercise that frustrates the goal of effective policymaking.” In this chapter, Galiu writes about how processes and people can introduce confusion into the policymaking process. Galui writes about the allocation of resources in policymaking:
Any discussion about strategy and policy formulation divorced from a corresponding discussion on allocation of resources to implement strategy and policy is incomplete. The US budget process was discussed in detail in chapter 3. However, a very brief overview of that process focusing on the critical role of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is essential for understanding the resourcing of national security from the perspective of National Security Council.
The US Constitution provides the Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes, … to pay the debts and provide for the common Defence [sic] and general Welfare of the United States; ….” The Constitution, however, does not prescribe how such legislative processes are to be exercised, nor does it provide a specific role for the president regarding budgetary matters. Various statutes, congressional rules, practices, and precedents have been established over time to create a complex system in which multiple decisions and actions occur with varying degrees of coordination. Perhaps most notable among them is the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, which created a statutory role for the president by requiring executive departments and agencies to submit their budget requests to the president and, in turn, for the president to submit a consolidated request to the Congress. The simplest description of today’s US budget cycle consists of four complex stages: 1) the President’s Budget formulation and submission to the Congress (after the first Monday in January, but not later than the first Monday in February); 2) congressional consideration of budgetary measures; 3) budget execution; and 4) audit and review. OMB plays a central role in the formulation of the President’s Budget, the management of budget execution by departments and agencies, and interagency coordination of policy initiatives.
Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of US National Security by Susan Bryant and Mark Troutman is available in hardcover, paperback, and digital editions. It is part of the Cambria Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series (General Editor: Dr. Geoffrey R.H. Burn).
Jason Galui is Founder & CEO of 4 Liberty Consulting LLC, which collaborates at the nexus of business, government, and academia. He is a Professor of Practice at SMU Cox School of Business, a visiting scholar at Texas A&M, a Professor of Practice at JSOU, USSOCOM, and an adjunct professor at William & Mary. During his US Army career, Galui served on the NSC staffs for Presidents Obama and Trump, on the Council of Economic Advisers, as Special Assistant to the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy, and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.