While the House and Senate quickly approach the July 4th recess, work on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the controversial use of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) designation is far from done. The Senate has passed its version of the NDAA, which, similar to the president’s budget, will designate $5 billion plus in base Pentagon spending as emergency war funding, or OCO. The House version provides an additional $18 billion in base OCO funding. The difference between the two, and the controversy contained therein, will have to be reconciled in the coming months before the budget can be passed or signed. Last year, disagreements over the use of OCO nearly resulted in a presidential veto and a government shutdown. This year, the debate surrounding the FY17 NDAA is likely to be just as contested— and the continued misuse of the OCO account poses real risks to U.S. security interests.
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