The Trump administration is expected to release its FY 2021 defense budget request on February 10, 2020, the final budget submitted in the BCA era. In this brief, experts from the CSIS International Security Program outline major issues to watch in the FY 2021 defense budget.
The Trump administration is not requesting that Congress raise the budget caps at all, either for defense or non-defense. Instead, the administration is asking Congress to use a loophole in the law to allow for higher defense spending without breaching the budget caps: overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding.
The OCO budget has been taken advantage of to skirt defense spending limits and to fund base budget activities that do not actually constitute war funding. However, moving all of OCO’s enduring costs into the base budget for the final two years of the Budget Control Act caps may not be politically expedient for passing a budget agreement for FY 2020 and FY 2021.