Officials Look for Military Overseas Operations Funding to Boost DoD Budget

Officials from the Congressional Budget Office said the proposed use of the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations funds to avoid another defense budget cap might disrupt the agency's longer-term budget planning, Federal News Network reported Friday.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said OCO covers 73 percent of budget cap adjustments since 2013 and the 14 percent increase in the funding for the Department of Defense since 2012. However, he noted DoD is overusing the funding “probably just as a way of getting around the BCA budget caps.”

A 2018 CBO report shows that if the budget caps remain on the current figures, OCO funds would lose 7.4 percent or $90B. Kaine then noted that if Congress distributes the enduring costs of the military’s overseas activities for DoD’s base budget, the agency could recieve 9 percent higher funding. 

“I can’t comment about the appropriate or inappropriate use of OCO, but I will say what we are doing since 9/11 is a significant departure from historical norms,” David Mosher, assistant director for National Security at CBO, said at a meeting with the Senate Budget Committee.

Mosher said that CBO is working on Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s proposal to move costs in OCO's funds back into the DoD base budget.

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