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Guidance for Development of the Force


Alternate Definition
Issued early in the planning process to provide overall policy and strategy guidance to be used in developing the defense program. It is the "precursor" to the Joint Programming Guidance (JPG). This document provides broad guidance in the form of strategic goals but sometimes addresses specific programs. Information in the GDF will also be considered by the Joint Staff and COCOMs in finalizing the Chairman's Program Recommendation (CPR). See Joint Programming Guidance and Chairman's Program Recommendation.
(Source: Glossary of Defense Acquisition Acronyms & Terms)
The GDF establishes the Department's force development planning and resource priorities needed to meet future contingencies. Consolidates and integrates force development planning priorities into a single overaching document and replaces guidance previously promulgated through the Strategic Planning Guidance, Global Defense Posture, and Science and Technology priorties. The GDF provides SecDef politico-military guidance to inform development of the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) and is informed by the National Defense Strategy (NDS) and National Military Strategy (NMS).
(Source: CJCSI 3100.01B)
General Information

Planning is the first step in the DoD resource allocation process (shown in Figure 1) and is accomplished by almost parallel actions by the civilian side of OSD (USD Policy) and the military side (led by Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS] with participation of the Services and COCOMs). In general, the Planning Phase of the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) process identifies the capabilities required to deter and defeat threats and defines for the upcoming Programming Phase national defense policies, objectives, strategy, and guidance for resources and force requirements to meet the capabilities and objectives. The Planning Phase begins about three years in advance of the first fiscal year for which budget authority will be requested in the President’s Budget; for example, the planning to support the FY2017 budget request began in the early part of calendar year 2014.


The first activity in the Planning Phase is a review of previous guidance. This review examines the evolution in required capabilities and changes in military strategy and policy as documented in the National Defense Strategy (NDS), issued by the SECDEF, and the National Military Strategy (NMS) issued by the CJCS. The NMS provides strategic direction on how the Joint Force should align the military ends, ways, means, and risks consistent with the goals established in the NDS. The Planning Phase also includes the OSD Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) (which was last completed in 2014 and is required to be completed again and submitted to the Congress in 2018). The QDR provides the results of a comprehensive examination of potential threats, strategy, force structure, readiness posture, modernization programs, infrastructure, and information operations and intelligence. All of these documents provide strategy-based planning and broad programming advice for preparation of what was previously published as the Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG); in 2008 the SPG was replaced by the Guidance for the Development of the Force (GDF).


Prepared by the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, in conjunction with the Joint Staff and the services, the Guidance for the Development of the Force (GDF) replaced the Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG), Transformation Planning Guidance, Posture Guidance, Science and Technology Strategic Guidance and several other guidance documents. The intent behind consolidation was to provide to planners across the services who are responsible for making strategic resource allocations a single, authoritative volume rather then leaving them to consult numerous documents, many of which were issued at different times throughout the two-year force development timeline and often contained conflicting and redundant guidance.


The Guidance for the Development of the Force (GDF) considers a long-term (20-year) view of the security environment and helps shape the investment blueprint for nearer-term spending across the up-coming five-year program. GDF establishes priorities within and across Joint Capability Areas managed by Capability Portfolio Managers (CPMs). CPMs are to be charged with developing capability portfolio planning guidance and programming, budgeting, and acquisition advice. The overall role of the CPMs is to manage assigned portfolios by integrating, coordinating, and synchronizing programs to optimize capability within time and budget constraints.


A document related to the Guidance for the Development of the Force (GDF), but not included in the PPBE process, is the Guidance for the Employment of the Force (GEF), which sets forth operational priorities from the present time through the budget years. The GEF was issued by SECDEF for the first time in May 2008. The Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP), which is developed concurrently with the GEF and issued by the CJCS, tasks the COCOMs with developing plans consistent with the GEF.