Restoring American Power
In January, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the white paper “Restoring American Power.” In it, he unexpectedly usurped the executive branch’s prerogative by making page after page of Defense Planning/Programming Guidance (DPG)–like recommendations, proposing “a general blueprint to begin rebuilding and reshaping our military.”
January was also the month during which the coming year’s fiscal budget was submitted by the executive branch to Congress. This is when Congress has the prerogative to examine, question, and propose modifications to the budget, prior to a final budget that is forwarded to the President to sign or not. This work is primarily accomplished by four major committees, though the first among these equals in this particular effort may be the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), which is now chaired by Senator McCain.
It is important that the three branches of government should stay in their lanes for good, legal, and historic reasons. The Congress does not write the DPG for the executive branch, and the executive branch does not edit the budget for the legislative branch.