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GAO: DoD, OMB Need to Update Criteria Used to Identify Activities in OCO Budget Request

The Government Accountability Office has called on the Defense Department to collaborate with the Office of Management and Budget to review and revise the criteria used to identify activities that should be included in DoD’s budget request for overseas contingency operations.

DoD should estimate OCO costs that are likely to endure in an effort to provide decision makers a better view of the Pentagon’s future budget requirements, GAO said in a report published Wednesday.

GAO made the recommendations after it found that OMB’s 2010 criteria failed to address the complete range of OCO activities in DoD’s budget request for fiscal year 2017, such as geographic locations where the department has started military operations and DoD’s counterterrorism and deterrence initiatives.

The congressional budget watchdog also found that the cost of non-war OCO appropriations rose to 12 percent in FY 2015 from 4 percent in FY 2010.

According to the report, DoD failed to develop an estimate of enduring OCO costs due to “current statutory spending caps” that hinder its ability to raise the base budget.

DOD said it plans to submit to OMB its proposed updates to the OCO criteria, the report added.

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