Critics of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds point to regular base budget activities funded under OCO and its use to skirt discretionary spending limits. However, blaming OCO for our defense budget blunders, or calling for its complete elimination, punishes those who need OCO’s benefits without effectively punishing those who’ve instigated its abuse.
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.
On the morning of February 9, roughly eight and a half hours into the second government shutdown of FY 2018, President Trump signed H.R. 1892, the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018,” into law. The bill extends a fifth continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through March 23, but more importantly, it raises the spending limits…
This study examines the literature on how contracts are fulfilled for both civilian and defense crisis funds, primarily focusing on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), disaster funds, and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds. Utilizing publicly available data, the study provides a methodology for classifying the contracts and analyzes the data based on noncompetitive awards, undefinitized contract actions, and reachback contracts.
Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding poses challenges for the new administration as they prepare its FY 2018 budget request. OCO funding is intended for war-related activities that cannot be forecasted. However, it has become a convenient loophole for defense spending since it is not restricted by the Budget Control Act (BCA) budget caps. This analysis address the challenges presented by OCO funding and possible options for handling base budget activities in OCO.
OCO has grown over the years and has become a means to get around budget caps. Yet, good governance would dictate a change in the way the government uses OCO funding. In its current form, OCO poses problems, yet changes to OCO would raise another set of challenges. So what, if anything should be done to reform OCO? Or is it fine as is?