SEST-596 U.S. Defense Budgeting and Strategic Planning
Fall for 2017-2018
Spring for 2017-2018
National defense is a public good financed by public money allocated through our complicated federal budget process. Thus defense management is as much about politics as it is about lines and blocks on a Pentagon organization chart. And defense policy – not what people say or how the law reads, but what actually happens – is usually a political outcome of tugging and hauling among various “players” in the executive and legislative branches of the government. This course seeks to give students an introduction to the defense budget and how budget politics shape policy. The course aims to help students understand:

• The technical aspects of the defense budget and the budget process – how we organize spending, different kinds of spending, internal pressures that shape future budgets without regard to strategic considerations, and how the budget moves from within the Pentagon and the Executive branch to the Congress and finally to the President for signature;
• The evolution of the process in the DoD and on Capitol Hill, the balance between policy analysis and programming, on the one hand, and budget politics, on the other, in shaping each year’s defense budget;
• The “games” by which budgets – hence strategy – are shaped – and how those games might shape each student’s thinking about how he or she will operate in a security-related government job.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
More information
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