Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Interagency Capability Portfolios?

If we were to have a truly whole of government approach to national security, that would include a systematic way of addressing requirements from a whole of government perspective, to enable rational whole of government resource allocation decisions. The DOD has had a capability portfolio "pilot program" for several years attempting to look at the analogous capability gaps and redundancies between the services. So far as I can tell this has had zero impact on actual budgets (p. 78), but at least they're looking in the right direction.

For the interagency you probably won't ever get mutually exclusive and exhaustive capability sets, but maybe capability portfolios just for important complex challenges that require extensive interagency collaboration and integration. E.g., irregular warfare, stability operations, consequence management, etc.

Who would manage these portfolios? NSC or an NSC/OMB hybrid. Would Congress require greater transparency of whatever animal was responsible for this kind of budget rationalization? Probably - but that's not the worst outcome in the world.

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