A Program Objective Memorandum (POM) is a central component of the Programming phase of the PPBE, when planning decisions, programming guidance, and congressional guidance is converted into a detailed allocation of resources. The POM is used to submit programming proposals. Submitted by the services in even-numbered on-budget years to develop proposed programs consistent with the Joint Programming Guidance (JPG) and to submit proposed programming, the POM includes an analysis of missions, objectives, alternative methods to accomplish objectives, and allocation of resources. With the implementation of a two-year budget cycle, a new document--the Program Change Proposal (PCP)--was introduced into the budgeting process to address urgent matters that need action during the off-budget year. In addition to the current budget year, the POM is a seven-year plan that is organized within program categories, such as conventional forces or special operations, and by type of resource, such as funding or manpower. The program provides for four years beyond the budget year for cost and manpower, and seven years beyond the budget year for forces. For example, FY16 Program Objective Memorandum will contain FY16, FY17, FY18, FY19, FY20, and FY21 for cost and manpower; and FY16, FY17, FY18, FY19, FY20, FY21, and FY22, FY23, and FY24 for forces.[1]

The POM is reviewed by program review teams comprising members from the military departments, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), defense agencies, and OSD staff. The results of this review are presented to the Senior Level Review Group (SLRG) for discussion. In addition, the Joint Chiefs conduct a concurrent checks-and-balances review of POM, focusing on the balance and capabilities of the proposed forces levels. Both reviews are presented to the Secretary of Defense prior to his/her decisions in the Program Decision Memorandum (PDM).

According to DoD Directive 7045.14, section 4.7, available here, the POM cannot be disclosed outside of DoD and other Government Agencies directly involved in the defense planning and resource allocation process.


In order to support Phase III activities, program dollars must have previously been put in a budget. Therefore, it is very important that you determine through discussions with your Technical Point of Contact (TPOC), if a champion has placed or plans to place money in a POM for your technology.


Updated by Kristin Stiner, November 2023