Funding for Overseas Contingency Operations and its Impact on Defense Spending
(Source: Congressional Budget Office; issued Oct 23, 2018)
Since 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) has regularly requested and received large appropriations to augment the base-budget funding provided in its regular, annual appropriations.

The additional, or nonbase, funding has totaled about $2.2 trillion, amounting to about 20 percent of total defense appropriations over that time.

About 98 percent of that sum has been designated for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere—known as overseas contingency operations (OCO)—that began after 9/11.

The Congressional Budget Office analyzed how nonbase spending affects DoD’s budget planning process and alters projections of the future costs of defense.

First, CBO reviewed nonbase appropriations before 2001 to provide a historical context for DoD’s current use of such funds. It then examined how DoD’s practice of funding OCO outside the base budget affects the department’s resource-management process and the anticipated cost of defense programs.

Finally, CBO identified activities supported by OCO funding that will probably endure regardless of reductions in U.S. contingency operations and then estimated how spending on those activities might affect the size of DoD’s future budgets.

CBO estimates that in each year since 2006, more than $50 billion, on average, of the total funding designated for OCO has been used to support enduring activities rather than the temporary costs of overseas operations. Beginning in 2019, DoD plans to start moving some of that enduring funding into the base budget.


Click here for the full report, hosted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists.

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