After Morning Defense’s rundown yesterday of the chaos plaguing the Pentagon’s 2014 budget, Gordon Adams, a fellow at the Stimson Center and a former national security budget official in the Clinton administration, wrote in to say: You forgot OCO.
OCO is the DoD account that lives outside of the base budget and funds “overseas contingency operations,” which these days mostly means Afghanistan.
“Saying the Budget Control Act base is $495 billion is accurate, but it does not count these additional funds. As they are three-quarters operations and maintenance [funding], they are entirely fungible with the accounts that have been most affected by sequester,” Adams says.
In other words, OCO has acted as DoD’s cushion.
“OCO has allowed the Pentagon to cover a multitude of sins and shortfalls. And I don’t think it is going away soon; in fact, I expect all of the services to ask for a big OCO in the next budget. It is the department’s escape valve from the sequester,” Adams said.
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