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  • Question

    If the funds are Congressionally redirected and given for a specific purpose that Congress wants executed, are we exempt from the FMR rule that we cannot obligate RDTE for new projects in the second year of the appropriation? Is this the same as a Congressional add that can be executed in the second year if a project start is delayed and it slips past the first FY.


    Answer

    There is no restriction in the FMR that limits obligations of RDT&E to only the first year of its availability.
     
    DoD Financial Management Regulation Volume 2A, Chapter 1 010214 states that
    RDT&E budget requests will be developed and presented in accordance with the following principles:
     
    Annual estimates of initial financing needed for new major weapon systems and other development programs and projects requiring several years to complete, and which involve contracts spanning more than one year, should be formulated to cover costs expected to be incurred during each fiscal year.
     
    While the intent is that the foregoing guidelines will be applicable to program execution as well as program formulation, there may be circumstances that could delay the start of an annual increment (such as legal, administrative, or technical problems). The 2-year availability of funds authorized for the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation appropriation provides the necessary flexibility for program execution in those circumstances.
     
    The Bona Fide Need rule, U.S. Code Title 31, Section 1502(a), allows that funding be used for goods and services for which needs arise during the period that appropriation is available for obligation (two years for RDT&E). The Agency and Service may have placed a limitation on the use of the appropriation beyond the first fiscal year.  This may be considered more conservative than intended by Congress, however it is within the Service or Agency prerogative to be more restrictive than what is allowed by the U.S. Code.
     
    In my experience I have found Comptrollers are often more lenient when programs are executing Congressional Add funding.  Recommend that you check with your local Comptroller on their policy. 

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