The verdict from think tanks and commentators is in: Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), the much-criticized war funding account, should move to the base budget because of abuses and a lack of transparency. As a matter of theory, such a move would be good government. OCO deflects hard choices and distorts the budget process. In the real world, however, such a move is unlikely. OCO provides the grease that makes budget agreements possible, and the political costs of closing it are too high for any White House.
As a result its use generated much controversy. A recent Stimson Center report, like many others, criticized OCO for undermining budget controls and generating long-term budget uncertainty that inhibits planning, recommending that most funds be moved to the base budget.
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