The acronym “PPBE” refers to planning, programming, budgeting, and execution. DoD Directive DoDD 7045.14—titled The Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Process—discusses the PPBE process. According to this Directive:

"The PPBE shall serve as the annual resource allocation process for DoD within a quadrennial planning cycle. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), force development guidance, program guidance, and budget guidance are the principal guides used in this process. Programs and budgets shall be formulated annually. The budget shall cover 1 year, and the program shall encompass an additional 4 years."[1]

The Secretary of Defense is assisted by senior review groups, but they are responsible for providing centralized policy throughout the PPBE process. Combatant Commanders have periodic opportunities to provide input regarding all phases of the PPBE process. The Deputy Secretary of Defense manages the day-to-day operation of the PPBE process.

The PPBE process provides, within fiscal constraints, the DoD with an effective mix of forces, equipment, manpower, and support. The process aligns resources with prioritized capabilities and provides mechanisms for implementing financially responsible decisions in support of the national security strategy and the national defense strategy. The PPBE process also facilitates the reviews of past decisions and actions. The reviews assess performance execution based on goals and strategic objectives. Recommendations that come out of the reviews are linked to decisions regarding future resource allocations.

In the planning phase of the PPBE process, the focus is on defining the national defense strategy and ensuring that we have the military forces necessary to support that strategy, maintain national security, and support foreign policy. In this phase, defining the policy framework is a key step—this includes the consideration of priorities, affordability, balanced risk, suitability, feasibility, and effectiveness. Strategic decision options are provided to the Secretary of Defense. Under the direction of the USD(P), the planning process evaluates the “operational utility and cost effectiveness of major decision options.[1]

The resourcing phase of the PPBE process includes programming, budgeting, and execution review. With respect to programming, the DoD components develop proposed programs consistent with planning, programming, and fiscal guidance. These programs reflect the missions and objectives to be achieved, alternative methods of accomplishing these goals, and the allocation of resources. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) analyzes the programs and provides a risk assessment. A program review is then conducted and any changes to Component programs are published in decision documents.

The DoD Components develop and submit detailed budget estimates for their programs. A budget review is conducted along with a program review and the Office of Management and Budget is involved in that review. Budgetary determinations are issued in decision documents.

With respect to execution review, the DoD Components conduct annual reviews to determine how well programs (and funding) have met warfighter needs. The DoD Components assess program compliance with priorities stated in planning and programming guidance; compliance with Secretary of Defense decisions and guidance; and program results (as measured through established performance metrics). OSD staff offices assess the findings of the DoD Components and recommend both program and budget adjustments, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The decisions associated with all phases and steps in the PPBE process are reflected in the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).[1]

Updated by Kristin Stiner, May 2024