PPBE Process

Budget Authority (BA)

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Budget Authority (BA) is authority provided by law to enter into obligations that will result in immediate or future outlays. It may be classified by the period of availability, by the timing of congressional action, or by the manner of determining the amount available.  Most Defense BA is provided by Congress in the form of enacted appropriations. See National Defense Budget (Green Book)

Deferral of Budget Authority
A temporary withholding/delaying the obligation or expenditure of BA or any type of executive action that effectively precludes the obligation or expenditure of BA. BA may be deferred to provide for contingencies, to achieve savings or greater efficiency in operations of government, or as otherwise specified by law. BA may not be deferred in order to effect a policy in lieu of one established by law or for any other reason. Deferrals must be communicated to the Congress by the President in a special message.

Topics that address BA include:

  • Advance Funding
  • Advance Procurement
  • Appropriations
  • Continuing Resolution
  • Contract Authority
  • Forward Funding
  • Impounded Resolution
  • Obligated Balance
  • Obligation Authority
  • Recession
  • Reprogramming
  • Total Obligation Authority
  • Unexpended Balance
  • Unobligated Balance

Total Obligational Authority
Total Obligation Authority (TOA) is the sum of:

  1. All budget authority (BA) granted (or requested) from the Congress in a given year,
  2. Amounts authorized to be credited to a specific fund,
  3. BA transferred from another appropriation, and
  4. Unobligated balances of BA from previous years which remain available for obligation.

TOA may differ from BA due to obligations not being incurred before the budget authority expires, transfers of unobligated balances, transfers of budget authority, other Congressional action, or offsetting receipts from the public, such as might occur from admissions fees for an event.

While DoD analysts distinguish between BA and TOA, BA is what the general public recognizes as the amount of funding appropriated to the DoD by Congress (in most cases). It is authority provided to the Federal government to incur legally binding obligations (signing contracts and placing orders), which will result in current year and future outlays. On the other hand, TOA is a DoD financial term expressing the value of the direct Defense program for a fiscal year, exclusive of the obligation authority from other sources such as reimbursable orders accepted. [1]

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