Reliance on War Funding Account Allows Congress DOD to Postpone Defense Reforms

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The ability of Congress and the Pentagon to stash spending in the military’s war funding account and sidestep the statutory spending limits sabotages the budget caps’ role in forcing officials to confront difficult decisions, a panel of experts said Friday at an event hosted by the Stimson Center.The department’s overseas operations account (OCO) is “a budgetary disaster which leads you to expect resources to continue to be available when they probably will not be,” said Gordon Adams, who managed national security budgets at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration.The presence of OCO “leads to a deferral of hard choices and a deferral of decisions to the expectation the money will always come in from somewhere and it will be above whatever budgetary constraints there are and it will be ample,” said Adams, who now is a distinguished fellow at Stimson.The fiscal 2016 budget resolutions adopted by the House and Senate last month each include $38 billion more in the OCO than the Obama administration requested as way to bolster DOD funding without busting the Budget Control Act caps on the department’s base budget.Adams and Matthew Leatherman, an advisor for the Stimson Center, said the department should consider trimming the number of support personnel, such as headquarters staff, reported Defense News.One area of reform that lawmakers and the Pentagon may be willing to work together on is military compensation, said David Barno with American University’s School of International Service.   “That’s an area where I think Congress could be persuaded this makes sense,” said Barno, a retired Army lieutenant general.last_img

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